ANWAR Ibrahim today verified the authenticity of a leaked audio recording of the last Pakatan Harapan meeting as a ruling pact that has been making rounds these past few days.
The opposition leader said he was present in the meeting in which several PH leaders were heard arguing over Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s position as the prime minister.
The leaked audio was from PH’s presidential council meeting on February 21. It was also the then ruling pact’s last meeting before Dr Mahathir’s resignation as prime minister, Bersatu’s exit from the pact and the collapse of the government.
In his Facebook live event today, Anwar said the audio content was true and that certain leaders from Bersatu and a few ‘traitors’ from PKR were not happy about the transition of power topic being raised.
“It happened and I don’t think it would have happened without a plan, without a mastermind because as we know it was raised (the point) mainly about Dr Mahathir’s position as prime minister,” he said.
The Port Dickson MP said some who wanted to delay the transition said they wanted to defend Dr Mahathir.
“But they are called traitors for a reason. No matter what we did to try and overcome the situation, they committed the betrayal anyway.
“Their plan was not to save Dr Mahathir, their plan was to betray PH’s agreement so they could get positions.
“They said they wanted to defend Dr Mahathir, but I never believed them as I have known them for decades,” he added.
The PKR president also said that he did not dispute Dr Mahathir’s position but pointed out that several members from PKR, Amanah and DAP wanted to know a specific date for the handover of power.
He said that the date was beyond that agreed by the component parties and that it was the promise made to the public in PH’s election manifesto.
“So, in the early days when Dr Mahathir became PM, they said one year. Then he said two years and then he said after Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), then there were calls for him to stay until the end. This was causing anxiety among PH members.
“Every time, when I was asked about the transition, I didn’t argue. I just said give him the space and latitude to manage the affairs of the state without interference,” Anwar said.
The PH meeting in February was held following pressure from Anwar’s supporters in wanting to know the exact handover date.
According to the audio clip, the meeting saw heated exchanges between two factions.
One said that the talks about the transition had undermined the coalition’s credibility, while the other insisted for a clear timeline for Dr Mahathir to pave the way for Anwar to be the next prime minister.
Minister for International Trade and Industry Mohamed Azmin Ali, and Minister of Housing and Local Government Zuraida Kamaruddin – both senior leaders in PKR then – were the only PKR leaders who joined Bersatu colleagues in disagreeing with a succession timeline, while DAP leaders Gobind Singh Deo, Loke Siew Fook and Amanah’s Khalid Samad were vocal in urging Dr Mahathir to state a specific date.