KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim said he expects to take over as Malaysian prime minister in the middle of next year, Bloomberg Television reported on Wednesday (Sep 18).
In an interview with the business news channel, Mr Anwar was pressed on whether May 2020 is the date of the power transition.
“There’s an understanding that it should be around that time, but I don’t think I should be too petty about the exact month,” Mr Anwar said.
“But there is this understanding that he will resign and that I should assume it,” he added, referring to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
The deadline of May 2020 is line with PKR’s stance that Mr Anwar would assume the highest post in the government two years after the 2018 general election, based on an agreement among component parties in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
When Dr Mahathir led PH to unseat the Barisan Nasional in the election last May, Mr Anwar was serving a five-year jail term for sodomy, a charge he has said was politically motivated.
Days after the shock victory, Mr Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, was granted a royal pardon from the Malaysian king and returned to the political arena.
Dr Mahathir, who called himself the “interim prime minister”, has reiterated that he would pass the baton to Mr Anwar as agreed, although he has appeared to be non-committal over the deadline of the handover.
There have been suggestions from some quarters for Dr Mahathir to serve a full term until the next general election due in 2023.
In the interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday, Mr Anwar said his rivals have no legitimacy.
“There is no sign of any party introducing or promoting or lobbying for other names,” he said.
“It does not stop other individuals with ambitions,” he added, describing them as “irrelevant”.