Anwar wanted to be my deputy PM, says Mahathir

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad pictured after a past coalition meeting.

PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today revealed that PKR president Anwar Ibrahim had been gunning for the deputy prime minister’s post during the recent political crisis.

Anwar had been “quite adamant about wanting the post”, Mahathir said to reporters in Langkawi, according to a report in theSun daily.

Mahathir said he felt the timing was inappropriate, and rejected the request as he had also preferred that Anwar’s wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, continue as deputy prime minister.

Various quarters were unhappy at the prospect of Anwar as the leader, Mahathir said, and two prominent civil society leaders had complained about Anwar’s apparent lack of administrative leadership skills.

“Anwar is more in tune with politicking rather than as an administrator,“ Mahathir was quoted as saying.

The jostling for the post took place during the recent political crisis after Mahathir resigned as prime minister and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong sought to gauge the level of support among MPs for a new prime minister.

PH decided to nominate Anwar, then rescinded its decision and backed Mahathir for another stint as prime minister.

Under an agreement reached by PH before the 2018 general election, Anwar was supposed to succeed Mahathir as prime minister.

The political crisis led to Muhyiddin Yassin being appointed prime minister at the head of a new coalition that comprises Barisan Nasional, Umno, GPS and some independents.

Mahathir said the political crisis was triggered by Muhyiddin’s “impatience in wanting to become a prime minister after sensing that Umno had given him the opportunity” and PH’s indecisiveness over his proposal for a national unity government.

“Muhyiddin is riding a tiger. If he gets off it, he would probably be eaten, so he has to continue riding it no matter how uncomfortable it is,“ the Sun quoted Mahathir as saying.