PETALING JAYA: A PPBM Supreme Council member says Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s successor will still need majority support of MPs, after a PKR leader said the prime minister had not changed his “dictatorial ways” for refusing to give a timeline on Anwar Ibrahim’s takeover.
Tariq Ismail cited Article 43 of the Federal Constitution, which states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint a PM from among MPs who in his judgement is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the house.
“While PKR has won most seats they do not command the majority to decide who should become PM,” Tariq told FMT, as Anwar’s supporters step up pressure on Mahathir to resign this May, two years after his return to the top post.
Under a deal struck by the Pakatan Harapan leadership in the run-up to the 2018 general election, Anwar was to succeed Mahathir as prime minister at an unspecified date after the coalition took over Putrajaya.
Mahathir has said he plans to step down after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Kuala Lumpur this Novemeber.
Anwar recently indicated that he had no issue with the November handover, and that he was confident of support from MPs.
“You’ve waited 20 years, extending six months doesn’t actually matter.
“If there’s a request to go back to Parliament, of course it can be done, but PH has the majority right now,” Anwar said in a recent interview with Reuters.
But Anwar’s diehard supporters have embarked on a roadshow and roped in former aides in urging Mahathir to hand over power in May.
Yesterday, PKR treasurer and Selayang MP William Leong said the time has come to execute “Plan B” to ensure that Anwar is made the next prime minister.
“The voice of the people is important. We want their views as it would pressure the government to get back on the right track.
“We have taken to the streets before. But I’m not asking them to go to the ground, but we want that sort of determination,” he said.
Leong said Mahathir had not changed his “dictatorial” ways although the people, including PKR members, had given Mahathir a chance to show that he is a changed person.
Tariq reminded PKR that the party does not command the majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
“While PKR has won most seats they do not command the majority to decide who should become PM,” he said, adding that the party itself is divided over Anwar.
Tariq said PKR leaders should stop talking about power transition “as it creates uncertainty over who holds power”.
“Unless of course, like children, they want constant reassurances from an elder statesman when he will hand over power. He has already said many times it will be after Apec. These guys need to grow up.”
Political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said Leong’s remarks showed Anwar’s supporters were convinced that the handover would not happen.
“It shows two things: either Anwar is not serious in restraining his supporters, or he can no longer control them,” the Universiti Utara Malaysia academic told FMT.
“If this is meant to be a threat, it’s a very feeble one.”
Last month, Anwar urged his supporters to refrain from discussing the transition of power in public.