PM succession plan in black and white, says Anwar

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.

KUALA LUMPUR: Anwar Ibrahim today said there was a written agreement that he would take over from Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the prime minister, as speculation continues over the ruling coalition’s succession plan.

The written agreement, the PKR president said, was not only among the Pakatan Harapan leaders.

“The message was loud and clear to the masses during the election, that for the interim, Tun Mahathir will be prime minister and (Dr Wan) Azizah (Wan Ismail) would be the deputy.

“And once Anwar is released, he will take over,” he said at the Apex Leadership Conference here.

Anwar said Mahathir had been vague over the exact date he would step down as he did not want to come off as a lame-duck prime minister.

“My point is, this issue is settled, as far as I am concerned, short of the fact that I may fall very sick tomorrow night.”

The Port Dickson MP was asked on the succession plan by Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) president Tan Cheng Kiat, who voiced concern over the “uncertainty”.

Anwar went on to say that ever since the plan was agreed upon by PH components, none of them has changed their position.

He said even when there were a few MPs who may not want him to take over the reins, “six MPs cannot determine who will be the prime minister”.

Anwar said even among the opposition, they had not nominated any other candidate and all they could do is to ask Mahathir to stay as long as possible.

He also said there was no need to keep speculating on the matter.

“It is not fair to Mahathir, to me and to the nation if people start speculating.”

Mahathir had recently come under pressure to specify a date to hand over power to Anwar, as agreed by Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders before the 2018 general election.

The prime minister, who returned to the top post following PH’s victory in the 2018 general election, has repeatedly stated that he would keep his word to step down after about two years.

Last week, Anwar said that PH leaders had agreed that the date would not be stated in public as it could undermine the current prime minister.