Lim Guan Eng has dismissed the need for a Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting to set a date for the transition of power between Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
The DAP secretary-general also noted that Mahathir previously said he would relinquish the post after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Kuala Lumpur in November.
“I believe what Tun (Mahathir) meant was that if the presidential council is not satisfied with his performance, the council can decide on whether he should resign or withdraw.
“He (Mahathir) has mentioned this during (past) presidential council meetings. But until now, I see no reason to hold a specific meeting to discuss this matter since the PM himself said he will leave after November.
“This is at the end of the year, not too long from now. Let us follow the timeline he (Mahathir) has recommended. I believe it (the transition) should be done in an orderly manner without any problems,” he told reporters in Puchong this afternoon.
Lim, who is also finance minister, said this would ensure a smooth transition of power, which would in turn safeguard stability and drive economic growth.
Calling on all quarters to be united and committed to improving the economic situation, the DAP leader said issues which do not help towards this end should not be raised or become the subject of dispute.
“Surely, there will be much speculation but I see this as a demonstration of his (Mahathir’s) openness and if the presidential council makes a decision (on the transition), he will accept it.
“As for now, the schedule is fixed for after Apec.
“I want to be frank. If we cannot ensure a smooth transition of power, it will be difficult for us to convince the people and face the next general election,” he added.
Lim said the top two priorities should be economic growth and fulfilling the promises in Harapan’s manifesto.
“No 3 (on the list) is to ensure a smooth transition. (If the three priorities are met), I feel we have carried out our responsibilities and we can face the people with confidence in the next election,” he added.
This morning, DAP MP Charles Santiago and the party’s Kelantan state chief Zaid Ibrahim urged the presidential council to fix a date, arguing that the continued uncertainty over this issue does not bode well for the nation.
Yesterday, Mahathir, in responding to several PKR MPs who wanted the transition to take place in May this year, said he is willing to step down with immediate effect if the council asks him to do so.
During an interview with Reuters last month, Mahathir said he would honour his pledge to hand over the leadership reins to Anwar.
“I made a promise to hand over and I will, accepting that I thought that a change immediately before the Apec summit would be disruptive.
“As far I am concerned, I am 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… irrespective of whatever allegation. I made my promise, I keep my promise,” he added. – MKINI
Don’t pressure Dr Mahathir to hand over, says Guan Eng
THERE is no need for the Pakatan Harapan presidential council to hold a meeting just to discuss whether Dr Mahathir Mohamad should step down in May or November, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said.
All parties should be calm and not rush the transition issue, despite calls from some in PKR for the prime minister to hand over power to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim in May, he added.
“When Dr Mahathir said he is ready to go if the PH presidential council wants him to, he means the if the council is not satisfied with him and wants him to resign, the council can decide on this, and he himself has said this before in presidential council meetings.
“There is no need for the council to hold a special meeting just to discuss this, because he has already said he will step down in November,” Lim told reporters in Putrajaya today.
“Let him be the one to decide on the transition schedule and ensure that it goes smoothly without any distractions.
“Only by leaving it to him can we be ensured of a smooth transition,” said Lim, who is also the finance minister.
Lim was asked about calls from PKR MPs who told a forum on the transition issue on Monday night that it is better for Dr Mahathir to step down in May instead of November.
The PKR MPs, who included Wong Chen, Chang Lih Kang and Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, said a May deadline will give Anwar time to implement his policies and win over voters before the next general election, which is due in 2023.
Dr Mahathir, however, said previously that he will hand over power after hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit that Malaysia is hosting in Kuala Lumpur.
Lim, reiterating that Dr Mahathir shouldn’t be rushed into handing over the prime minister’s post and the importance of a smooth transition, said it is necessary for the handover to be done peacefully.
“If we don’t have a peaceful transition of power, it will be difficult to have the people’s support in the 15th general election.
“We also want the stability to ensure economic growth and to fulfil the rest of our 2018 election promises,” he said.
The transfer of power from Dr Mahathir to Anwar was agreed to by all PH component parties ahead of the 2018 elections, but no specific deadline was set, other than the fact that it will take place before the end of the government’s current term.
This has led to various quarters pushing for an earlier transition and also speculation about whether it will take place at all.
Dr Mahathir, 94, has repeatedly said he will hand over after addressing the country’s financial problems. Anwar has also assured his supporters the transition would take place, and to give space to the prime minister to decide when. – THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT
MKINI / THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT