KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader Anwar Ibrahim has outlined why he is against a proposal for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to serve as prime minister for a transitional period of six months if Pakatan Harapan (PH) recaptures Putrajaya, stating that it is time for Malaysian politics to begin anew.
In a television interview with CNA's Melissa Goh, Mr Anwar said the short transition would render the prime minister ineffective.
"(If there is) a transition of six months, after two months people will ask when, when's the date? What’s going to happen? Are you going to have the same Cabinet, are you going to change it? You have six months of not being able to focus on reform and the economy," he said.
Since Dr Mahathir has served twice as prime minister - first as the leader of then-ruling coalition Barisan Nasional for 22 years and next as chairman of PH after the 2018 general election - Mr Anwar said it is time to move on.
"I emphasise it's not question of personality. It's a question of an opportunity to begin anew, a fresh start for this country. Malaysians deserve something better," he told CNA.
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PH was voted into Putrajaya in the 2018 general election with Dr Mahathir at the helm, but the administration collapsed in February after Mr Muhyiddin Yassin led Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia out of the coalition.
Mr Muhyiddin, who is backed by Barisan Nasional and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, was sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister leading the Perikatan Nasional (PN) pact.
PH, which finds itself as the opposition coalition again, was strategising its moves to regain federal power but reached a stalemate when component parties and their allies could not agree over the candidacy for premiership.
Parti Amanah Negara and Democratic Action Party were in favour of bringing Dr Mahathir back as prime minister and Mr Anwar as his deputy, after Mr Anwar failed to convince the ruling state coalition in Sarawak to back him for the top post.
However, PKR has rejected the option and insisted that Mr Anwar should hold the premiership if the coalition returns to Putrajaya.
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On whether Dr Mahathir would be able to play an advisory role in the government, Mr Anwar told CNA he is open to discussion. His PH colleagues have proposed to appoint Dr Mahathir as senior minister or minister mentor, he added.
"But what cannot be compromised is that the new government we're going to form must be totally committed to the full structural reform, clear definitive economic policy that will generate growth and ensure there is distributive justice, irrespective of race," he said.
Mr Anwar also said that PKR has already started to prepare for elections, even while PH insists that it was given the mandate to rule but PN had grabbed power "by treacherous means".
"We had the mandate, we have the numbers, then the mandate should be returned.
"But notwithstanding, we should be prepared for the elections. That was clearly the agenda. We have set up our elections machinery going to the states. And we should be prepared," he said.