KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — DAP lawmaker Liew Chin Tong has come out in support of PKR’s move to intentionally trigger a by-election for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and urged the people to understand the rationale.
The senior DAP leader and deputy defence minister stressed that Pakatan Harapan’s long-term strategy was for Anwar to eventually replace Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the prime minister.
Both allies and rivals criticised PKR and Anwar after they announced that a by-election will be forced in Port Dickson for him to contest.
“I support Anwar's decision to contest in the by-election. Hopefully, more people will support him. I hope Anwar’s participation will stabilise the entire political scenario,” Liew told the Malaysiakini news portal.
“When the prime minister succession plan between Mahathir and Anwar is firm, it will stabilise the government,” said Liew, who is also the deputy defence minister.
Anwar protested similarly against the criticism, reminding detractors that this was in the pact’s plans from the start, and added that it has been months since he received the royal pardon that erased his disqualification to contest in elections.
Liew told Malaysiakini that Anwar’s election as a federal lawmaker would cement the pact’s agreement for Dr Mahathir to yield the PM’s post to him one day.
Anwar previously revealed the existence of a written agreement with Dr Mahathir for the latter to make way.
“If Anwar could return to Parliament, the cooperation between Mahathir and Anwar is sealed, and it will play an important role in stabilising the nation,” Liew added.
Both Anwar and Dr Mahathir have publicly and repeatedly reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement, despite allegations that one or the other planned to renege.
The two politicians have a complicated history tracing back to 1998 when Dr Mahathir sacked Anwar as his deputy; the two only made up recently after years of open hostility.
Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah resigned as Port Dickson MP on Wednesday to create a vacancy for Anwar, but the Election Commission has yet to meet and decide on the dates for the eventual poll.