Anwar: Min­is­te­rial posts for top two not con­trary to man­i­festo

The Star Malaysia - - News - By VIN­CENT TAN vin­cent.tan@thes­

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR ad­viser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says the Prime Min­is­ter and Deputy Prime Min­is­ter hold­ing min­is­te­rial port­fo­lios is not a con­tra­dic­tion of Pakatan Hara­pan’s elec­tion man­i­festo.

Part of Prom­ise 12 in the man­i­festo states that the Prime Min­is­ter will not hold any other min­is­te­rial posts, es­pe­cially that of Fi­nance Min­is­ter.

“I think that doesn’t go con­trary (to the man­i­festo). To my un­der­stand­ing, the Prime Min­is­ter is not a port­fo­lio.

“The Prime Min­is­ter man­ages the coun­try gen­er­ally, so does the Deputy PM. These are not port­fo­lios,” Anwar said, em­pha­sis­ing that the main thing was that the Prime Min­is­ter did not as­sume the post of Fi­nance Min­is­ter as well.

His com­ment fol­lows yes­ter­day’s an­nounce­ment by Prime Min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad that he was as­sum­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry, while his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Wan Az­izah Wan Is­mail would take up the Women’s Af­fairs and Wel­fare Min­istry.

As for his own re­turn to Malaysian pol­i­tics, Anwar said there was no set time frame.

“I’ve just come out (of prison) yes­ter­day. There’s no op­por­tu­nity for me to meet with any friends to dis­cuss se­ri­ously. I’ve just been en­gag­ing the me­dia and at­tend­ing pub­lic func­tions,” he said in an in­ter­view with The Star.

The only meet­ing he has had so far, he said, was with Dr Ma­hathir, who is also Pakatan and Parti Pribumi Ber­satu Malaysia chair­man.

Af­ter that, Anwar said, he planned to leave for his um­rah pil­ grim­age, and then pro­ceed to Turkey and the United States.

These over­seas trips would not be for long, he added.

“Then, in the next few months have a by­elec­tion, re­turn as an MP, and con­tinue with the en­gage­ments, fellowships and series of lec­tures I’ve ac­cepted out­side (the coun­try),” he added.

“They were jok­ing just now, telling me about Pekan, but I don’t know. I’ve not heard any­thing about him re­sign,” Anwar said, re­fer­ring to for­mer prime min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Tun Razak, who is Pekan MP.

Ex­plain­ing his de­ci­sion not to seek an im­me­di­ate re­turn to pol­i­tics, Anwar said he did not want to be seen as wait­ing in the wings to as­sume the premier­ship.

“You should give Dr Ma­hathir a free hand. The team is clear, the agenda is clear and I think they should be given some space.

“I also ex­press my views every time I meet him. He’s tak­ing it very well,” said Anwar.

In the mean­time, the main thing he wants to do be­fore get­ting back into pol­i­tics – aside from mak­ing up for lost time with his fam­ily and friends – is to share the Malaysian ex­pe­ri­ence of po­lit­i­cal tran­si­tion with other Mus­lim coun­tries.

He said he wanted to “in­spire them to use the bal­lot box, not ex­trem­ism, not fa­nati­cism, not dic­ta­to­rial au­thor­i­tar­ian regimes that ac­tu­ally help breed ex­trem­ism”.

In an in­ter­view with Malaysi­akini, Anwar said Tun Daim Zain­ud­din could con­trib­ute to Pakatan, but noted un­ex­plained “ma­jor ex­cesses” when Daim was Fi­nance Min­is­ter.

“He can con­trib­ute, but he must be aware. Peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate that he has joined, but are also con­cerned that he has been un­able to ex­plain some ma­jor prob­lems in the past.

“Peo­ple say there’s no need to bring up old bag­gage, which is true. But demo­cratic ac­count­abil­ity ... must not stop at Na­jib.

“How­ever, I don’t think it should go to the ex­tent of a ven­detta and end­less witch hunt,” Anwar said.

He also said there were con­cerns of “Umno 2.0” creep­ing into the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion, but that some com­men­ta­tors were try­ing to sow seeds of dis­sen­sion.

Anwar said he had dis­cussed get­ting ad­vice from Daim with Fi­nance Min­is­ter­des­ig­nate Lim Guan Eng.

“He (Daim) has been able to help in manag­ing the econ­omy, but there are ma­jor is­sues we have to ad­dress,” Anwar added.

He also cau­tioned that peo­ple were in a state of eu­pho­ria with the change in regime but that would wear off, es­pe­cially with crit­i­cism.

“It is a new gov­ern­ment ... af­ter the eu­pho­ria and the me­dia starts whack­ing us ... you have to ac­cept that fact,” he said.

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