Rafidah against timeline for leadership change

Rafidah Aziz says the country’s future leader should inherit a stable, resilient and united Malaysia.

PETALING JAYA: Former international trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz appears to be against the call for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to set a timeline to hand over power to Anwar Ibrahim.

“No one should be so impatient as to set timelines to effect the transition and takeover. That so called timeline itself has become a source of debate and contention,” she wrote in an opinion piece in business paper The Edge yesterday.

The veteran politician, who was Anwar’s Cabinet colleague during Mahathir’s first term in power more than two decades ago, said the priority now should be to rebuild the nation after “a decade of erosion”.

“Today, we seem to allow ourselves to be preoccupied with the ‘transition of power’, forgetting the ultimate power of The Almighty to determine and decide.

“Man proposes. God disposes. Let no one have the arrogance to ignore the Will of The Almighty,” said Rafidah, who did not mention Anwar by name.

There have been growing calls from among Anwar’s loyalists for Mahathir to fix a date for the PKR president’s takeover, as promised under an agreement by Pakatan Harapan leaders before the 2018 general election.

Under the deal, Anwar was to succeed Mahathir as prime minister at an unspecified date after the coalition took over Putrajaya.

Mahathir, responding to intense talk about his date of stepping down to make way for Anwar, had said that only PH’s top council could make such a call.

On separate occasions, he had said that he would step down after about two years in power. But last month, Mahathir said he would not hand over before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in November.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m stepping down and I’m handing the baton to him. If people don’t want him, that is their business, but I will do my part of the promise,” the prime minister had said.

Rafidah said it was important that the person replacing Mahathir inherit “a stable, resilient and united Malaysia”.

“There is no pride in heading a nation beset with rancour and fractiousness, a people splintered by toxic divisiveness, fuelled by unproductive ego-triggered narratives of racial origin,” she wrote.

She said Malaysia currently suffers from a leadership crisis, adding that there is no lack of leaders.

“Malaysia does not merely need leaders, but leadership which can take the country successfully into the future,” said Rafidah.