GEORGE TOWN: Veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin today said the issue of Anwar Ibrahim’s transition to power should be settled between him and Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In a blog post, Kadir, who is the media adviser to the prime minister, said Mahathir and Anwar were a “team” going back to the time when both were in Umno, and were the right people to talk it out.
He said the unique dynamics between both leaders were apparent in the nascent days of Pakatan Harapan (PH) before its win in the 2018 general election, citing a few meetings which also saw PPBM’s entry into the coalition.
He urged Anwar to placate his supporters pushing for Mahathir to give up his post.
Mahathir has come under pressure to specify a date to hand over power to Anwar, as agreed by PH leaders before the polls.
He has repeatedly stated that he would keep his word to step down after about two years.
Kadir wrote: “I said, in all those years that he and Anwar were a team, most things were directly decided and done between the two of them. At least that was my impression in dealing with them in those 16 years.
“By the same token, it’s best to leave the issue of the handover of power to the two of them. Interference could jeopardise the agreed transition.
“And if Anwar had learned anything from the past, I believe he should rein in his impatient supporters.”
Kadir also gave an account of how Anwar’s political career grew from his student activist days and rising to Umno’s upper echelons, through Mahathir’s “tutelage and protection”.
He said he nicknamed Anwar the “crown prince” of Umno when he was made Mahathir’s successor in 1993.
Kadir said he had never agreed with Anwar’s ways of doing things and his “aggressive empire-building” from 1982 to 1998.
“Still I believed that there should be a limit to demonising him in the media following his 1998 sacking from Umno and the government, and his subsequent imprisonment for abuse of power and sodomy. The latter conviction was overturned in 2004.
“I thought he had suffered enough and, furthermore, he thrived on publicity. The more he was condemned in the media the more his supporters would rally around him.”
He said this was principally the reason why he resigned as group editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times in 2000.
“I disagreed with the view that the media should continue to demonise him and action be taken against his alleged supporters in the media.”