KUALA LUMPUR: Though the power transition or lack thereof appears to be creating tension on the political front, Mr Anwar Ibrahim has no reservations in having his predecessor join his Cabinet when he assumes leadership.
Speaking to reporters after a forum on Thursday (Feb 20) the Parti Keadilan Rakyat president said he would not mind having the current Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in his Cabinet after the power transition.
"I leave it to the (ruling coalition Pakatan Haparan's presidential) council and I am open to the idea,” Mr Anwar, who is Member of Parliament for Port Dickson, said.
“His vast experience would certainly help in getting a more peaceful transition and steering the economy forward."
On Wednesday Dr Mahathir said that he would step down after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November.
“I don’t know (if the issue will be raised). I have said that I am ready to resign at any time when asked. But my promise to resign remains. Whatever the decision (by the presidential council), I will resign after the APEC meeting,” Dr Mahathir reportedly said.
READ: ‘I will keep my promise’: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir denies claims of manoeuvres over PM term
READ: Malaysia PM Mahathir says ruling coalition could be a one-term government unless it stops infighting
DO NOT PRESSURE US
Mr Anwar, when asked about waiting until November, said that it should not be a problem.
“In my discussion with the prime minister, he already said that it will be after the APEC summit - so we will deal with this (then),” he said.
“And I don’t think anyone should be put under pressure, neither me nor (Dr Mahathir). Again I reiterate that he should be given latitude, because both of us and the Pakatan council have decided that the change will be smooth, peaceful and orderly, while we still continue to work as a team.”
Earlier during his speech at the forum, Mr Anwar also said that instead of focusing on pushing Dr Mahathir to leave, the people should give him credit for having navigated through some difficult times.
Power transition is expected to be one of the issues discussed at the Pakatan Harapan presidential council on Friday.
FOCUS SHOULD BE THE ECONOMY
Mr Anwar, when asked further on details of the power transition and his expectations from the presidential council meeting, said his focus would be to work out matters relating to the economy.
“(The) transition is part of the deal and can be resolved in 30 minutes. The focus is on the economy,” he said.
Earlier at the forum Mr Anwar spoke about how the economy did not look good, especially following the COVID-19 outbreak.
“In the last quarter, the economic growth was only 4.3 per cent. It will drop more this quarter, so we need to find a way to improve it,” he said.
Mr Anwar also said that when he becomes prime minister, he would focus on building policies that were based on the needs of the people, instead of race or religion.
"(Race and religion) was how it was done before, but that is not how it will be done after this. From here on, the policies will be needs-based," he said.
"If you want to be a truly Malaysian leader, and if you want to be a leader for this nation, then you must have the same passion for the Malay, Indians and Chinese and ensure that all our children are given equal opportunities."
He added: "People just want their welfare to be looked after. When we were young, we would talk about distribution (of wealth). If we want to distribute wealth then economy must be more vibrant."