KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is still the top pick of the majority of leaders in the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition to succeed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the prime minister, a DAP leader seen as Anwar's loyalist has said.
Ronnie Liu, who is Selangor DAP secretary and DAP executive committee member, claimed that PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali who is speculated to be Anwar's rival to the post will have no chance at succeeding Dr Mahathir.
Liu asserted that Anwar has the numbers to back him up to be the next prime minister of Malaysia.
“Anwar might not be Dr M's favourite but he is the choice of PKR (at least the majority faction within that party), DAP and Amanah. Even if some of Bersatu were to rally behind Azmin and some PKR members were to join in as well, they are still not the majority within Pakatan. Not even close,” Liu said in a statement yesterday.
Liu was referring to Pakatan Harapan's four component parties PKR, DAP, Parti Amanah Negara and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), adding that it was unlikely that PPBM would be swelling soon with opposition members joining en masse.
“Of course it should be noted that Bersatu could grow rather quickly if there are massive crossovers from Umno and PAS but that doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon.
“So, I don't think Azmin has any chance of becoming PM. He should realise that. More importantly, Dr M should accept that and therefore do more to assure everyone that he is going to stick to the plan. It's not enough for him to keep saying he will do so. He needs to give a precise timeline,” Liu added.
Liu was referring to Dr Mahathir's repeated reassurance in public that he will keep his promise to hand over the prime minister post to Anwar eventually, but without committing to when the handover would be done.
Liu believed that PKR would stop having the internal dispute ― seen by many as due to the Anwar-Azmin rivalry ― that is destructive to both sides involved if the time for the handover of the prime minister post is made public.
“Once a fixed timeline is announced, and everything suddenly becomes more concrete, we should see the end of internecine warfare within PKR.
“A more stable PKR is better for PH, and a stable PH is better for national economy (to answer some of the people who were trying to sidestep or play down the sex video fiasco) and this will help to ensure that BN will never come back to power again,” he said.
Liu, who was in the past a spokesman for Anwar loyalist group Otai Reformasi, had touched on speculation that Dr Mahathir prefers Azmin to replace him as prime minister instead of Anwar.
Liu however also highlighted Anwar's own assertion that he has the support of Dr Mahathir and Pakatan Harapan to be the next prime minister.
The rivalry between Anwar and Azmin as viewed by many during the thorny PKR elections last year appears to have intensified amid a recent sex video scandal that is being investigated by the police.
The sex video scandal had allegedly implicated Azmin, although the latter has denied so and described it as a ploy to harm his political career.