KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — There is no agreed timeframe of two years for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to pass on the prime minister post to political ally Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Dr Mahathir’s son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir has reportedly said.
Mukhriz reportedly said the presidential council of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition was aware that both Dr Mahathir and Anwar had an agreement on the succession plan, but said the two-year timeframe frequently floated in public was never agreed on.
“There was no agreement that it has to be two years. There may have been suggestions like that, but nothing was stated on paper or in a verbal agreement,” the senior PH leader was quoted as saying in an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review.
Mukhriz reportedly said Pakatan Harapan’s component parties shared the general consensus that Dr Mahathir should be given time to fix Malaysia’s economic and financial issues before ceding the prime minister post to Anwar.
“He (Mahathir) should be given enough time to do what he wants to do. Although we acknowledge his age, he has not shown any signs of slowing down,” he was quoted as saying of Dr Mahathir who yesterday turned 94.
Dr Mahathir is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman while Mukhriz is PPBM deputy president. Anwar is president of fellow PH ally PKR, with the two other parties in the coalition being DAP and Parti Amanah Negara.
Mukhriz also reportedly denied that there was an internal tussle within Pakatan Harapan despite claims that Dr Mahathir may instead favour PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to be his successor as prime minister.
Mukhriz pointed out that Anwar’s position as the next prime minister after Dr Mahathir was clear.
“My sense is that since the majority believes that Anwar is the appointed heir, he (Mahathir) should be given enough time to do what he needs to do,” he was quoted as saying.
Dr Mahathir became Malaysia’s prime minister again after Pakatan Harapan was voted into power in the May 2018 elections.
Dr Mahathir has repeatedly reaffirmed his promise to hand over the prime minister position to Anwar, but has not committed to a timeline for the power transfer.
Last month, Dr Mahathir denied an international news report which quoted him as saying he “will not go beyond three years” as prime minister.
Pakatan Harapan has a five-year term as general elections are held every five years in Malaysia, unless the prime minister calls for early polls.