A Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting next week to detail the prime ministerial transition plan does not appear to have cooled the temperature among opposition groups lobbying for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to relinquish the top post by May and those who want him to stay for a full term.
PKR’s Selayang MP William Leong, at a forum on the transition plan in Damansara today, claimed that Mahathir had not changed from his “dictatorial” ways.
“The people have given him the chance to show that he is a changed man but unfortunately, after one and a half year, he has not changed,” he said.
Leong also suggested that the need for a “Plan B” on the transition plan, suggesting that demonstrations could be an option.
“We have gone to the streets in the past. I am not asking people to go to the streets (now) but we want that spirit,” he said.
Harapan had endorsed Mahathir as its leader in the last general election on condition that he eventually transfers power to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim who was at the time in prison. However, no timeline was set.
Also present at the forum were author Shahbudin Husin and former PKR Youth chief Ezam Mohd Noor who defected to Umno and became a senator but had since quit the party.
Ezam, in his speech, accused Anwar’s deputy Azmin Ali of being part of a movement to gather statutory declarations (SD) from MPs to thwart the transition plan and have Mahathir as prime minister for a full term.
“He is busy collecting signatures, no wonder the economy is tanking. How is the economy not damaged? We cannot compromise with this,” he said. Azmin is also the economic affairs minister.
Ezam (above) also claimed that people were whispering in Mahathir’s ears to convince him to stay on as prime minister.
PAS is also pushing for Mahathir to stay on for a full term and wants to initiate a vote of confidence.
On Friday, Mahathir said there were people who wanted him to stay on as prime minister for another “22 years” but assured that he would leave after the conclusion of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Kuala Lumpur in November.
Meanwhile, Shahbudin criticised PAS for what he claimed is the party’s failure to act as an opposition party.
“PAS is supposed to act as a check and balance but is now becoming an apple polisher.
“They are apple polishing more than Harapan itself,” he said.
Harapan is set to meet on Feb 21 in a bid to put to rest the uncertainties surrounding the transition plan.