PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he is not reneging on the promise that Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim will be his successor as previously agreed by the Pakatan Harapan coalition.
“On (the issue of) successor, we already agreed that it must be Anwar, I'm not reneging on my promise, but when ... of course is not very certain, I'm conscious that I am very old, I am 93 and in two years’ time I will be 95 years old,” he said.
Dr Mahathir was speaking to reporters after chairing the supreme leadership council meeting of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) of which he is chairman.
On Wednesday, Port Dickson Member of Parliament Danyal Balagopal Abdullah from PKR announced his resignation, paving the way for Anwar to contest the seat.
Dr Mahathir said Anwar had called him from Hong Kong to tell him about his decision to contest the by-election.
“I will endorse his candidature,” he said.
When asked about his current relationship with his former deputy prime minister, Dr Mahathir said: “As far as my relationship with Anwar, it’s ok, it’s good, as good as can be.”
On whether Anwar would be given a position in the government if he won the parliamentary by-election, Dr Mahathir said PKR had made a decision on the matter.
“Actually (PKR secretary-general) Saifuddin (Nasution Ismail) has made a statement that when Anwar wins ... he will not seek a position in the government, meaning to say he is not asking to be a minister in the government.
“I take it that it must be with the consent of Anwar that he (Saifuddin) said this,” said Dr Mahathir.
On Friday, Anwar stressed that he would not seek any position in the government if he wins the by-election.