Anwar Ibrahim has confirmed that there is an effort to collect signatures from federal lawmakers for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to serve until the end of his term.
In a media statement this evening, the PKR president said he met with Mahathir in Putrajaya to discuss this matter and the succession issue.
According to him, the transition of power between them would be finalised at the Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting next week.
On the signature campaign, Anwar said it involved PAS as well as “a group from Umno and a small number from PKR.”
“The prime minister is not involved in this effort. In fact, he reaffirmed (during their meeting in Putrajaya) that he would relinquish the post as promised,” he added.
Anwar said he is “inclined” towards Mahathir spearheading the nation until the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Kuala Lumpur, which is scheduled for November.
“However, this matter will be finalised at the Harapan presidential council meeting on Feb 21.
“I also informed the prime minister that in light of the existence of this ‘cunning plot’ (signature campaign), the Harapan leadership and ‘several other friends’ would defend the agreement sealed on Jan 7, 2018, which is to support his (Mahathir’s) leadership as the 7th prime minister and mine as the 8th prime minister.
“I also reminded (him) that in the past two years, this agreement was never threatened by any of the component parties – PKR, DAP, Amanah and PPBM (Bersatu),” he added.
Yesterday, Anwar claimed to be in the dark when quizzed on a Sarawak Report article, which alleged that MPs “have been pressured to fly in from all corners to Kuala Lumpur over the last 48 hours” to ink a statutory declaration (SD) in support of Mahathir.
Apart from Umno, PAS and Bersatu lawmakers, the article claimed PKR MPs aligned to Anwar’s estranged deputy Azmin Ali had also inked the document.
However, Zuraida Kamaruddin, who is one of Azmin’s staunchest supporters in PKR, denied the report.
Earlier, Malaysiakini reported that next week’s presidential council meeting, the first since Nov 23, could be an explosive affair.
Sources claimed that Mahathir has the backing of more than 130 MPs, including those from Gabungan Parti Sarawak, and this would serve as his trump card should the council pressure him to step down.
The premier, said one source, could set an ultimatum for his allies to either toe the line or risk the formation of a new political alliance.
Whereas, another source argued that Anwar has the edge with regard to the numbers game with 129 lawmakers supporting him compared to 93 for Mahathir.
This calculation is based on the premise that all of DAP’s 42 and Amanah’s 11 as well as almost half of Umno’s 39 lawmakers would back Anwar.
One source, however, argued that it is not Mahathir but those close to him who want to prevent Anwar from becoming the next prime minister.
“Mahathir intends to keep his promise (to pass the reins to Anwar). But if the majority of MPs don’t want Anwar, what can Mahathir do?” the source told Malaysiakini.
The premier himself hinted at this during a recent interview, where he said the Dewan Rakyat would be the ultimate decider on who should lead the nation.
Mahathir and Anwar’s repeated assurances that the succession plan would proceed as promised failed to douse the raging speculation that the nation would witness a repeat of the 1998 fallout. – mkini
As conspiracy rumours swirl, Anwar says Dr M assured him of commitment to power transition
Anwar said he met with Dr Mahathir in Putrajaya today, during which he brought up the rumoured efforts of PAS as well as factions within Umno and PKR to back the prime minister to serve out his full term.
Anwar said he acknowledged Dr Mahathir’s desire to continue leading the country until the conclusion of the 2020 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit, which Malaysia is hosting in November.
It had been initially presented as happening within two years of the general election but it was later revealed that there is no formal agreement on when it must happen.
The lack of any formal timeline has led to incessant speculation, rumours, and intrigue about the transition, forcing both Dr Mahathir and Anwar to repeatedly insist that the promised transition will take place.
Most recently, it was reported that PAS lawmakers along with some in Umno and PKR allegedly signed statutory declarations backing Dr Mahathir to stay on, in a purported bid to foil the plan for Anwar to take over. – MALAY MAIL
MKINI / MALAY MAIL