Will Dr M hand over reins to Anwar? I know these two, says Najib

Najib Razak seen here in this picture taken in 1984, flanked by Dr Mahathir (right) and Anwar, when they were part of the BN government. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Only time will tell if Dr Mahathir Mohamad will hand over the reins of office to PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim as promised, says former prime minister Najib Razak.

“I know these two leaders,” Najib told Utusan Malaysia in a recent interview, adding that after hearing “all sorts of stories” about this, he would simply wait and see what would happen.

Asked about the cooperation between the four Pakatan Harapan (PH) parties, which had been seen as difficult in the past, the Pekan MP said it was too early to say if they were truly united after May 9, adding he didn’t know if it would last long.

“Anyway, if we see it from a historical and ideological point-of-view, we couldn’t even imagine that they would form the government, but now they have,” Najib told the Malay daily’s weekend edition Mingguan Malaysia.

But whether PH would survive given some of their leaders’ history and enmity was an entirely different matter, he said, pointing to DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang’s strained history with the prime minister as an example.

“If we were to break down what Lim has said about Mahathir, what Mahathir has said about Lim, what Mahathir has said about Anwar, and what Anwar has said about Mahathir and so on, the question arises as to the pact’s survival.”

Both Anwar and Lim were put in jail under Mahathir’s 22-year administration.

Under a deal by the four PH parties – PKR, DAP, Amanah and PPBM – Mahathir would step down as prime minister after two years in power and make way for Anwar.

“Only time will determine what happens,” said Najib. “I can’t really say, but if you look at what they have said previously, it would be very difficult for us to imagine that there would be cooperation among them today.”

Still, Najib hoped the process would not lead to political instability in the country.

“We have to prioritise the country and our citizens too,” he added.

On whether the Malays were uneasy with a new government in power, Najib said there were certain statements that he read that justified such sentiments.

He said Umno must continue championing the rights of Malays and Islam as well as the interests of the other races.

“We cannot be an extremist party. We must be a moderate and progressive party that is based on the principles that we strive for,” he said.

The former leader said he was actively churning out statements these days on social media because there was no one better than him to defend his administration’s past decisions.

He said this and other moves he made – such as campaigning for Barisan Nasional during the recently concluded Sungai Kandis by-election – should not be seen as overstepping his mark.