PUTRAJAYA: PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail today urged all parties to let Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim sort out the succession plan between themselves.
He also dismissed any uncertainties over the timeline for Mahathir to hand over power to the PKR president, saying the process for arriving at that decision had been done before last year’s general election.
He spoke of a joint decision by the four-party Pakatan Harapan (PH) on Jan 6, 2018, at a meeting which he said had lasted until midnight. The decision was tabled at the PH convention at IDCC Shah Alam the following day.
“The decision was also tabled as a convention resolution covering three components, namely seat allocation, the joint manifesto by PH, and leadership.
“That was on Jan 7, 2018. Four months before the general election, the decision we arrived at was that if we won the polls, Mahathir would be prime minister, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail would be deputy prime minister, and Anwar would succeed Mahathir.
“Until today, that decision still stands. Nothing has changed the situation,” he told reporters after attending the National Cost of Living Action Council meeting here.
Saifuddin had been asked to comment on a series of apparently conflicting remarks of late concerning PH’s succession plan.
Reformasi supporters Otai Reformasi had also disputed the matter, asking Mahathir to set a deadline for the handover of power.
To this, Saifuddin who is also domestic trade and consumer affairs minister reiterated that it was a PH decision.
“Otai Reformasi are free to voice their views,” he said. “We cannot stop them from doing so. But I wish to state that the decision was a consensus among the four parties.
“Anwar, through his meetings with the prime minister, has repeated that he has no issues and that he accepts the arrangement.
“I leave it to the wisdom of the two men.”
Saifuddin also ticked off the media which he said had been reading too much into remarks on the succession plan, singling out Malaysiakini for raising “naughty questions” (soalan nakal).
On Saturday, Mahathir was quoted as saying in an interview with CNBC in Bangkok, Thailand, that he would step down within three years and hand over the reins to Anwar.
“As far as I’m concerned, I have made a promise that I will step down and that Anwar will succeed me,” he was quoted as saying.
In February, Anwar said he expected to be prime minister in not more than two years’ time, adding that Mahathir must be given enough space to govern effectively during “very difficult and trying times”.