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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli yesterday said it is imperative that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad relinquish his position as prime minister willingly.
Rafizi said it is important for Pakatan Harapan (PH) to ensure the transition of power takes place without any hitch so that the coalition can retain power in the next general election.
“If [Dr Mahathir] relinquishes willingly, the transition will be very smooth,” Rafizi was quoted saying by South China Morning Post.
Speaking at the ISEAS — Yusof Ishak Institute’s annual Regional Outlook Forum, Rafizi was reported saying the ruling coalition’s top leaders would be forced to impose a retirement date on Dr Mahathir if he does not commit to a timeline on handing power to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim by early next year.
He said such action will have to be taken as Malaysians would by then have lost patience with the relentless focus on the succession issue.
Rafizi said he was among the drafters of the original succession agreement signed on January 7, 2018, four months before PH came into power Pakatan Harapan to power.
Rafizi said the agreement did not include a handover date as has been speculated by observers.
He also reportedly said that there would not be any “bold attempt” by any party to force a succession in 2020 given politicians’ instinct not to rock the boat.
Dr Mahathir, who promised to step down as prime minister mid-term, is facing increasing pressure, including from within the PH coalition, to set a specific timeline for Anwar to replace him.
He has many times reiterated his promise to relinquish the prime minister’s post within two years of taking office time.
In November last year, Dr Mahathir said he and Anwar agreed that there is too much tension over their succession plan and that PH members should talk less about this and focus on serving the public.