PKR lawmakers yesterday reiterated at a public forum the need for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to hand over power to party president Anwar Ibrahim by May.
Although Anwar said the transition issue should be left to the Pakatan Harapan presidential council, MPs William Leong, Chang Lih Kang, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and Wong Chen said a May handover is crucial for the coalition’s survival at the next elections.
“We thought Dr Mahathir was equivalent to an economic boost but this is not happening,” said Wong Chen at the Should Malaysia wait until November for transition? forum in Bangsar.
Although PH has funnelled back some RM37 billion to businesses through income tax and GST refunds in Budget 2019, local investments remain weak, Wong said.
“If we can set a date now, it will give confidence to local investors to provide a second boost to the strong domestic consumption.”
In December, Dr Mahathir reiterated his pledge to hand over to Anwar after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) conference which will take place in Kuala Lumpur in November.
Dr Mahathir will be the only leader to have hosted Apec meeting twice with Malaysia last hosting it in 1998.
According to Wong, the economy is only supported by a strong domestic consumption.
“Although, international trade is up 2%-3% because of the US-China trade war, this is winding down. To grow the economy, we need local investors to lead the way before foreign investors will follow.”
To be fair to Anwar, he said, the latter would need more time to implement his policies and reforms before the next general election.
“Take the maternity leave, which was increased from 60 to 90 days, for instance. Although it’s a simple policy, it took us 1½ years to implement it as it needed a lot of discussions with stakeholders.
“So, even if Anwar takes over today, consulting stakeholders, passing laws, getting the civil service on board before finally implementing the law will take two years. If the transition is too late, Anwar may not be able to implement any meaningful reforms.”
GE15 will be difficult for PH if Anwar only takes over after Apec in November 2020, he said, noting that PH only won 46% of the popular vote compared with Barisan Nasional and PAS which obtained 48%.
“As such, the Pakatan leaders need to act now to save their own political parties. The presidential council needs to decide and have an open conversation about a firm transition date.
“As Dr Mahathir is not going to lead Pakatan into the next elections, it’s important for the next leader to lead them.”
Leong said Anwar should be given enough time to win over voters before the next elections, which must be held by July 2023.
“We had strong support in GE14 but we have lost that as seen in the Tg Piai by-election.
“Transition must take place before our goodwill is completely lost,” said Leong.
Failing to act quickly could be disastrous for PH, he added.
Speed up transition, as only Anwar can deliver Pakatan promises, says MP
THE Pakatan Harapan presidential council needs to speed up the transition process as only Anwar Ibrahim can fulfil the manifesto promises, said William Leong.
“Wong Chen, Rafizi (Ramli), Dr Rais (Husin), Dr Ong Kian Ming, Tony Pua – this is the team that wrote the book but none of them (is a minister).
“Those who understand are not in the cabinet. Those who didn’t read are in the cabinet and that’s why they say it’s very difficult to do it,” the Selayang MP told a forum yesterday.
Leong was responding to a question on why PH is slow to fulfil its manifesto promises and why the MPs are speaking in a public forum on the transition issue.
Leong was among three other PKR lawmakers pushing for Anwar to take over from Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in May instead of after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting at year-end.
Alongside Leong at the Should Malaysia wait until November for transition? forum were Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen and Tg Malim MP Chang Lih Kang. Also present was DAP’s Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi.
Leong said it’s unacceptable for Dr Mahathir to say that he could not implement all the manifesto promises.
“That’s what the people voted for and that’s what we want to remind the presidential council and those who are deciding that we are waiting for the change.
“This is something we have been bringing up and there’s no difference between what was happening with BN and now Pakatan. The only change is to remove a kleptocratic regime. That is why we are here tonight, to start that conversation.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT