Finally, there seems to be some certainty as to when Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammed will hand over the post to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
In an event yesterday, Mahathir told the press that he would hand over the power to Anwar as promised.
However, the actual date of the transfer of power has not been decided.
Mahathir’s statement of handing over power to Anwar was in response to remarks made by Anwar earlier that he would be the prime minister in 2020, although he didn’t mention the exact date.
The latest statement by Mahathir on succession can be considered as the nearest he has come to endorse Anwar as the most likely candidate for the post.
The interval between Anwar’s assertion that he will be the next prime minister and Mahathir’s concurrence were well-timed. I don’t think it was just a coincidence.
The question of others competing for the post doesn’t arise in the first place.
Anwar has dismissed them as rivals with no credibility.
It was not a question of Mahathir’s choice as the matter of Anwar taking over power was decided before the last general election.
Since Anwar was in jail, it was a natural choice to allow Mahathir to hold the post, until such time that the former was able to assume the post.
The momentous election victory gave an opportunity to Mahathir to become the prime minister.
The question in the minds of many Malaysians was when Anwar would take over power in accordance with the pre-election agreement.
Anwar was no hurry, for it was important to give some time to Mahathir to resolve some of the crucial problems to stabilise the country.
It was more or less a consensus that Mahathir will hold the post for about two years before handing over to Anwar, although the actual timing of the transfer was not mentioned in the succession agreement.
Whatever you say of Mahathir, he is a man of principles and would not forsake the promise made to hand over power to Anwar.
To date, Anwar has been an extremely disciplined leader. He never applied pressure on Mahathir to give up the post early, he constantly consulted Mahathir on national matters and, above all, patiently waited for his turn.
There was nothing for Anwar to fear.
The post was his; it was just a matter of time.
Of course, there were spoilers who tried their best to derail the planned succession.
They even went on to suggest other names by creating scenarios that Anwar might not be the likely successor.
This projection of alternative succession scenarios has completely vanished to a point where Anwar has dismissed them.
It is not that Anwar does not deserve this appointment.
PAS, with its bankrupt ideas, can put obstacles in Anwar’s path, but the party leaders, apart from only knowing the worst forms of racial and religious extremism, are not in a position to contribute anything useful to the country.
P Ramasamy is deputy chief minister II of Penang