Anwar’s time has passed, says Mukhriz

(Malaysia Now) – Anwar Ibrahim has outlived his time, Pejuang president Mukhriz Mahathir said today in a sign that the six-month-old opposition party which he co-founded with his father Dr Mahathir Mohamad is in no mood to work with the PKR chief.

“I think his time has passed. That’s my feeling, and a lot of people have been saying that, in fact within Pakatan Harapan (PH) itself,” Mukhriz, referring to the coalition led by Anwar, told business station BFM in an interview.

Mukhriz, the former Kedah menteri besar whose party was registered last July, also announced an ambitious plan to field candidates in 120 parliamentary seats at the next general election, adding that he expects clashes in seats where PH will contest.

He said while most of the seats would be “rural Malay” constituencies, there would also be semi-urban seats which would see his party going head-to-head with PH.

He said the decision to field a large number of candidates was to show that Pejuang was serious about governing.

He also said that Pejuang leaders realised that the 52 seats contested by their former party Bersatu during the last general election was not enough to dislodge Umno, their main foe.

Adding that Pejuang was formed as a challenge to Umno, Mukhriz agreed that this was the reason for its focus on the Malay agenda.

He said Pejuang had also stayed out of the memorandum of understanding that PH signed with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob last September despite being issued an invitation to join.

He said Pejuang wanted to stay “independent”.

“We felt that if there was any form of reward from the government, it might diminish our ability to be critical of the government when it needs to be criticised,” he said.

Pejuang was formed by Mahathir and a handful of other MPs after their sacking from Bersatu in May 2020, months after the collapse of the PH government, triggered by Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin’s decision to take his party out of the PH coalition.

Becoming the prime minister

Mukhriz disagreed that the problems faced by the country today originate from policies introduced by his father during his rule for more than two decades.

“I won’t call them mistakes. The way I see it, he had a vision of how things should be done. When there were no other counter arguments to show there were other ideas better than his, then he kept his own.”

He said being the son of Mahathir had its advantages, but that much would depend on his own ability.

“It definitely opens doors but after that you have to do things on your own. People have pretty high expectations because of that name,” he said, although quickly rejecting a suggestion that he would become “Mahathir 2.0”.

“Of course we are guided by his ideas and way of thinking, which I think has no fault.”

Mukhriz meanwhile laughed off a suggestion that he was eyeing the prime minister’s post, saying he had never held such ambitions.

But he said he would not discount an opportunity of this nature.

“I must be ready for any possibility. I won’t discount that, but this is subject to all kinds of things.”

Mukhriz also said becoming the prime minister was “not easy”.

“All kinds of things have to fall in place.

“I don’t think the present prime minister expected to be the prime minister himself.”