The succession issue would ultimately be settled by the Pakatan Harapan presidential council.
While Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s voluntary retirement will greatly enable smooth transition of power, the Pakatan Harapan coalition could set a date for him to step down if he is unwilling to do it himself, the South China Morning Post reports.
Rafizi Ramli, the man widely seen to be an ally of Anwar Ibrahim, the prime minister designate, said this yesterday at the Yusof Ishak Institute’s annual Regional Outlook forum in Singapore.
Rafizi said he was one of the drafters of the succession pact signed on January 7, 2018, nine months after the historic general election that swept Pakatan Harapan (PH) to power. It was agreed that then jailed Anwar would take over the reins from Dr Mahathir when he was freed, but a date was not fixed for the transition of power.
Nearly 20 months after the victory, the 94-year-old prime minister has yet to say exactly when he will make way for his successor, although he has repeatedly hinted of a “two-year timeline” that would mean his retirement this May.
Dr Mahathir has since said that he would only step down after the November Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit.
“If (Dr Mahathir) relinquishes willingly, the transition will be very smooth,” Rafizi said, adding the latter was necessary for PH to hold on to power come the next elections.
With no fixed date for the event in sight, however, the component parties of the ruling coalition have been forced to speculate and, in several cases, bickered over the matter of succession.
Voters’ patience was also being tested, said Rafizi, adding that the current state of politicking and discontent over the economy could see the ruling bloc ousted if a snap poll were held today, he said.
If the prime minister should continue to prove reluctant to fix a date, Rafizi said, a retirement date is likely to be imposed on him. The ruling coalition’s top leaders would be forced to take such action as the public would have lost patience with the uncertainty over succession, he said.
Rafizi said the succession issue would ultimately be settled by the Pakatan Harapan presidential council, the top body in the bloc.
Rafizi, who is a vice-president in PKR, the party led by Anwar, said he did not believe there would be any “bold attempt” by any party to force a succession in 2020.
Any attempts to thwart Anwar from taking over the PM’s office, meanwhile, would be doomed to failure as the Reformasi icon had the support of a vast majority of his own party as well as his coalition partner, DAP, said Rafizi.
On Anwar’s part, upon attaining the country’s highest office, he would have to introduce radical economic policies that were likely to be met with resistance from within his party and the coalition, Rafizi said.
Anwar’s prime ministerial success would be determined by his choice of economic advisers, Rafizi added. – TMI