Economic minister Azmin backs opposition call for PM Mahathir to stay on for full term

Economic minister Azmin backs opposition call for PM Mahathir to stay on for full term

A combination photo shows Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, politician Anwar Ibrahim
A combination photo shows Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar Ibrahim and Minister of Economic Affairs Azmin Ali in Malaysia on March 28, 2019, May 17, 2018 and September 5, 2018. (File photo: REUTERS)

KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR) deputy president Azmin Ali said Monday (Jul 29) that he supports the opposition's call for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be a full-term prime minister, apparently going against the agreement reached within Pakatan Harapan (PH) for Mr Anwar Ibrahim to take over after two years.

Mr Azmin’s statement came after reports of tension between him and Mr Anwar Ibrahim – the president of PKR – over a viral gay sex video implicating Mr Azmin, who slammed it as a “nefarious plot” to ruin his political career.

“I welcome the statement made by Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang that PAS and United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) will give their full support for Dr Mahathir to serve out his full term as the prime minister,” the Economic Affairs Minister said in a Facebook post.

“Their view gels with my opinion that efforts to restore the country’s glory must be realised immediately,” he added.

Mr Abdul Hadi reportedly said last Friday that PAS and UMNO want Dr Mahathir to complete his term in office until the next election to uphold the interests of the Malays and Muslims.

He said there was a need to ensure Dr Mahathir gets the majority support to run the country, even if the support has to come from the opposition, the Star reported.

In his Monday statement, Mr Azmin hailed bipartisan support for Dr Mahathir as a “new chapter” in Malaysian politics, where people’s interests are prioritised.

He added that the country needed stability for institutional reforms to be implemented, paving the way for positive efforts to restore Malaysia’s economy.

"Dr Mahathir's leadership is needed to ensure stability, continuity and consistency of government policies to drive investment as well as create jobs and prosperity for all. 

“I am confident that political stability will strengthen the country’s fundamentals and integrity, which along with the concept of ‘shared prosperity’, will bring Malaysia back as an Asian Tiger,” he said.

READ: Malaysia's Anwar says he has support to become PM, decries sex tape 'gutter politics'

READ: No two-year timeline for Malaysian PM succession plan - Mukhriz Mahathir

In the May 2018 general election, Dr Mahathir led the PH pact to defeat and replace Barisan Nasional as the ruling coalition.

It was agreed that Mr Anwar, who was still in prison until a royal pardon was granted on May 16, would take over the premiership from Dr Mahathir.

While PKR said a timeline of two years was set, Dr Mahathir has appeared to be non-committal over the deadline of the handover, although he has repeatedly stressed that he would adhere to the transition plan.

Source: CNA/tx(hs)

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