Set a clear ‘package’ for Anwar’s succession please, civil society groups tell Dr M

Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann speaks during joint press conference with Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) and Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement (Abim) in Petaling Jaya August 7, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann speaks during joint press conference with Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) and Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement (Abim) in Petaling Jaya August 7, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PETALING JAYA, Aug 7 — Civil society organisations today called for Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Pakatan Harapan (PH) collation leaders to set a clear transition “package” for their government leadership succession to ensure political stability.

In a joint press conference, the Bersih 2.0 coalition together with Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) and Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) said the transition package includes setting a clear time frame for Dr Mahathir to pass the prime ministership to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann said Dr Mahathir and PH leaders should abide by their own set of agreements prior to the 14th General Elections (GE14).

“We call upon Tun Mahathir to set a date, somewhere between a year from now to latest May 9, 2021, to hand over power to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, in accordance with the pre-GE14 agreement among the PH component parties. 

“Though it was said that no time frame was stated in the agreement, Dr Mahathir has said on numerous occasions it would be between two to three years from forming the PH government,’’ he said at the Bersih 2.0 headquarters here.

Fann said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should also be made deputy prime minister six months before he is elevated to the PM post.

“With a clear and publicly known transition plan, it would quash rumours and conspiracy theories perpetrated by those who seek to gain from the instability and see the breakup of the coalition,’’ he said.

The DPM post is currently held by Anwar’s wife, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Fann also said the current feud with PKR president Anwar and his party deputy, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali is of concern to Malaysians and the international community who fear political instability in the country.

Fann later said the statements made by the civil societies does not mean they were supporting any particular prime minister candidate.

“We stressed that our statement today is merely to call for Dr Mahathir and Pakatan leaders to abide by their agreement prior to the GE14. However, It doesn’t matter to us whoever it is that takes over but all we ask is a clear and smooth transition of power to ensure that the reform agenda is not stunted and that the political sphere remains stable,’’ he said after the press conference.

Asked if Bersih 2.0 would call for a street protest if Dr Mahathir does not address the issues within the allocated time frame, Fann said he would not call for a “Bersih 6” over the matter but reiterated that PH leaders should abide by their pre-GE14 agreement.

The groups also asked PH to limit the prime minister to two terms, amend laws to deconcentrate the PM’s powers, hasten institutional reforms and reform the electoral system.

Among those present at today’s press conference were ABIM Secretary-General Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz, GMB Chairman Zaid Kamaruddin, GMB secretary Stanley Yong Yew Wei and Bersih 2.0 consultant Wong Chin Huat.

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