KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan (PH) did not stipulate a two-year timeline for the transition of power from Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to Mr Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said on Monday (Sep 30).
Mr Syed Saddiq, who is also the coalition’s presidential council member and youth chief, said he was present when the agreement was signed.
“A ‘two-year’ transition for (Dr Mahathir) to step down was not mentioned in the document that we signed,” he wrote on his Facebook.
“If it’s not, why lie to the people? Why force Dr Mahathir to resign now when this was never agreed upon by us?”
Mr Syed Saddiq’s lengthy post came after Mr Syed Husin Ali, a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) stalwart, said last Saturday that a delayed handover would destroy PKR and PH.
“If the handover is closer to the 15th general election, it would kill off the party and Pakatan Harapan. Anwar would not have time to campaign,” Mr Syed Husin was quoted as saying by the Malaysian Insight.
“He must have at least two years before end of this mandate to put forth his plans and campaign,” he told reporters.
The handover has been a subject of interest since Dr Mahathir, 94, returned to helm the country following the May 2018 general election.
Under a PH agreement, Mr Anwar, who was released from prison on a royal pardon days after PH’s historic win, would succeed Dr Mahathir as the next prime minister.
It was generally thought that this handover would take place in two years, but the timeline has been a matter of contention among PH politicians.
Dr Mahathir has also refrained from committing to an exact date.
Last week, Dr Mahathir said he would step down before the next general election, which has to be called by 2023.
PKR’s Mr Syed Husin acknowledged that there was “nothing written” on the handover date, and the two-year deal came about because PKR thought the process to obtain Mr Anwar’s release would take about two years.
“We didn’t realise it would happen so quickly,” he said.
In his Monday Facebook post, Mr Syed Saddiq said Dr Mahathir should be given space to rule the country instead of being forced to resign while he was chosen by the people to be the prime minister.
He said people want reforms and improvements and they are not obsessed with the transition, struggle for power and political sabotage.
“The obsession over the transition and excessive politicking will destroy the government’s ambition to bring about comprehensive reforms and to restore the country’s economy,” he said.