No internal discussion on the matter at any level, says PKR.
KUALA LUMPUR: PKR said today there has been no preparatory talk on the prospect of its de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim retiring after he revealed he may consider quitting politics should the opposition fail to wrest federal power.
While saying he is not taken aback by Anwar’s statement, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said there had never been any internal discussion on the matter at “any level”.
This meant there is no urgency to talk about PKR and Pakatan Rakyat’s future without him at the moment, said Saifuddin, the Machang MP.
“There was never any talks [about him retiring] at all at any level – be it the central working committee or the political bureau.
“I take the issue as purely speculation so I will not comment on it,” he told FMT when asked if Pakatan or PKR is prepared to agree on a successor should Anwar exit politics.
Anwar, the former deputy prime minister, had indicated to the Financial Times in an interview published today that he is growing tired of politics and admitted that the 13th national polls may likely be his last shot at leading the opposition into power.
“We present our manifesto, our policies and, of course, if I get the mandate, I continue; otherwise I think I’ll go back to teaching,” Anwar was quoted as saying.
The influential paper also noted that the 65-year-old Anwar seemed tired for a man facing his best shot yet of governing a 28-million multiracial population fed up with over half a century of Barisan Nasional (BN) rule that appears unable to reform politically, socially and economically.
“Now 65, Mr Anwar admits this is ‘probably’ his last shot at becoming prime minister,” the influential paper said.
Saifuddin said the “quit” remark may not be entirely true but was Anwar’s way of “getting things up”.
Anwar’s statement, although purely speculative, will force the disparate Pakatan bloc to confront the unresolved question of finding a successor that could be agreed upon by the three major component parties.
The opposition leader – not so much his moderate party PKR – is seen as the binding force that keeps Islamist PAS and secularist DAP together.
No tangible successor has so far come in sight even when Anwar was confronted with possible jail time when he was charged with sodomising his former aide although Pakatan component parties said they were prepared to fight on as a unit.
The opposition leader was subsequently acquitted but continued to be the subject of personal attacks by political rivals who, he claimed, were the architect of the sodomy charges.