Mahathir’s word not good enough, said PKR’s Syed Husin

(FMT) – A member of PKR’s advisory council has expressed a lack of confidence in a promise by Dr Mahathir Mohamad on handing over power for Anwar Ibrahim to take over as prime minister.

Mahathir recently said he would step down in three years at most but Syed Husin said:

“Mahathir… sometimes he says this, other times he says that. I cannot hold him to his word.”

Mahathir would make decisions with the leadership but would end up doing something else. “And then he would say he forgot,” said Syed Husin, who is deputy chairman of PKR’s advisory council.

He made his remarks at a forum to celebrate contributions of the late Dr Burhanuddin al-Helmy, an early president of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (now PAS).

Syed Husin noted that there was no official time period stated regarding the handover to Anwar. “The thing that was in writing was that the prime minister would be him (Mahathir) and the deputy prime minister would be Wan Azizah,” he said, referring to Anwar’s wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

The agreement was made before the 2018 general election, when Wan Azizah was PKR president while her husband was serving a jail sentence on charges of sodomy.

“No one had expected that Anwar would be released from jail so soon,” Syed Husin said. “At that time, it was agreed by all parties that when Anwar was released and given a royal pardon, then that would be the time he replaces Mahathir.

“At that time, it was said that this process will take two years — to release him and for him to be given a pardon. We did not expect that he would be released so early, that it could happen within six months,” he added.

However, he said that there was already a consensus between Mahathir and Anwar about the transfer of power. “We wait and see, if the consensus will be implemented or not by Mahathir,” he said.

Mahathir recently stated that he would step down as prime minister before the next general election, due to take place in 2023.

“I promise I would step down before the next election and give way to another candidate. So I may have at the most three years perhaps,” the prime minister said at a forum by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Syed Husin agreed that Anwar should be made prime minister before the next general election, so he would have enough time to prepare plans and campaigns.

“If we wait until the 15th general election for the take-over, that would destroy the party (PKR) and kill Pakatan Harapan. There would be no time for Anwar to campaign. He must prepare.

“At least (give him) two years to arrange all kinds of plans and campaigns,” he said.