I was offered PM’s post, says Wan Azizah

JAKARTA: Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has revealed that she was offered the post of prime minister after Pakatan Harapan (PH) won the 14th general election (GE14) on May 9.

Speaking to some 200 members of Malaysian diaspora here, Wan Azizah said the offer came from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V as she is the president of PKR, the party whose symbol was used by all PH component party members in GE14.

“However, I had to turn down the offer because we made a promise (to the people) that Dr Mahathir Mohamad would become prime minister and I, the deputy prime minister,” she said during the event at the Malaysian embassy here last night.

Admitting that PH was surprised by its victory over Barisan Nasional (BN), Wan Azizah, who was on a day trip to Indonesia, said she was also grateful that GE14 had proceeded in a democratic and peaceful manner.

She added that PH had not expected to inherit such huge debts as well as an administration and financial system that was “practically destroyed” when it took over.

She said even though several promises in the PH manifesto had yet to be fulfilled, she hoped all Malaysians could be patient and wait for the government to implement the desired changes.

On whether the government would evaluate the performance of its ministers and replace those who failed to perform, she said it was too early to make such evaluations as it had only been five months since PH took over administration of the country.

“Give us some time because we are still on a learning curve,” she said, adding that only a handful of PH ministers had experience in administering a country, namely Mahathir and Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali meanwhile had experience in state administration, she added.

Wan Azizah also shared her pride in being the first woman to chair the Cabinet meeting when Mahathir was abroad.