Cruel to ask 94-year-old Dr M to stay on, forum told

SHAH ALAM: A political commentator says allowing Dr Mahathir Mohamad to continue serving as prime minister beyond two years is akin to torturing the 94-year-old veteran leader.

Speaking at a forum to discuss his book titled “Anwar PM ke-8”, Shahbudin Husin said the promised two-year time frame for handing over power to Anwar Ibrahim was ideal.

“Now he is 94, in two years time, he will be 96, and this will be an ideal time to hand over power,” he said.

He said as the former deputy prime minister, Anwar is qualified to take over from Mahathir, adding that Anwar was also once named “Asia’s Best Finance Minister”.

He said the promise to hand over power to Anwar must be kept.

“If this promise is not kept, surely Pakatan Harapan will become unstable and break up,” he said, adding this will give room to Barisan Nasional to return to power.

Shahbudin said clarity on the transition plan was needed, likening it to planning a wedding.

“If we know when we are getting married, then we can plan better.”

Under a deal struck by the PH leadership, Anwar will succeed Mahathir as prime minister though no time frame has been set for the transfer of power.

At the event, veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin said Anwar was within his rights to ask his deputy Mohamed Azmin Ali to resign if it is proven that the economic affairs minister is involved in a gay sex scandal.

“Anwar is entitled to his opinion, he is leader of the party and it is his right to express his view.

“Not just in this instance, but in anything which affects the running of the country, leaders of the party must act.”