KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — Pakatan Harapan’s plan for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be the eighth prime minister caused Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to plot against this, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed today.
The former prime minister told Asia Times in an interview that Anwar’s estranged former deputy was bent on preventing the transition, eventually leading Azmin to be part of the so-called “Sheraton Move” that brought down the PH administration.
“Basically, he (Azmin) doesn’t like Anwar. He doesn’t want Anwar to be the next prime minister. He wants to withdraw support from the party which is headed by Anwar, so he took a number of their members out.
“He joined Muhyiddin and they have formed a government now, but I find that such plotting is not good for government,” Dr Mahathir said, referring to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The relationship between Anwar and Azmin had already been deteriorating before it broke down completely in 2019 after the PKR president suggested that his then-deputy should take a leave of absence as a federal minister pending an investigation into a sex scandal.
Azmin and his faction eventually left PKR to join Bersatu.
Dr Mahathir had also appeared to cultivate this rivalry with his apparent favour for Azmin at the time, which also prompted Asia Times to ask if he had been grooming the latter to succeed him instead of Anwar; the former PM denied this.
When asked if he considered Azmin a “traitor” now, Dr Mahathir did not say so.
“Well, Azmin is a disappointment. I was very close to him, but he was part of this plot to change the government.”
Following Perikatan Nasional’s takeover of the government, Muhyiddin appointed Azmin as the first of four senior ministers in place of a traditional deputy prime minister.