Malaysia’s Anwar says he’s con­fi­dent han­dover will go as planned

The Myanmar Times - - ASEAN Focus -

MALAYSIA’S des­ig­nated prime min­is­ter-in-wait­ing, Anwar Ibrahim, said Satur­day that he has no rea­son to doubt his for­mer po­lit­i­cal neme­sis will hand over the lead­er­ship po­si­tion within two years as planned af­ter sort­ing out deep-seated is­sues like cor­rup­tion.

Anwar and Prime Min­is­ter Ma­hathir Mo­hamad put aside their 20year feud to help their four-party al­liance win elec­tions in May, lead­ing to the coun­try’s first change of power since in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tain in 1957.

Anwar, 70, was con­victed of sodomy in 2015 in a case that he said was po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated. He was freed and par­doned by the king shortly af­ter the re­cent elec­tions.

The al­liance had agreed that Ma­hathir would be prime min­is­ter and then hand over the reins to Anwar.

On Satur­day, Anwar said that con­test­ing a by-elec­tion af­ter a law­maker from his party re­signed ear­lier in the week was “well within the plan” of his even­tual suc­ces­sion, but that he was in no rush to take over.

“I think the suc­ces­sion plan is as agreed,” Anwar said. “Let Prime Min­is­ter Ma­hathir con­duct the af­fairs of the state. We sup­port him, that’s im­por­tant. And I don’t think we should be rush­ing to it, be­cause he’s play­ing a very crit­i­cal role for the coun­try.”

“The coun­try needs sta­bil­ity and a strong leader now, and I want to make sure that he is ef­fec­tive in his po­si­tion,” he added. Anwar spoke to re­porters on the side­lines of the Sin­ga­pore Sum­mit, which was at­tended by busi­ness lead­ers and aca­demics from Asia.

He said he has a close re­la­tion­ship with Ma­hathir and sees no rea­son to doubt his sin­cer­ity, given how he has acted in the four months since the his­toric elec­toral vic­tory.

The gov­ern­ment has clamped down on cor­rup­tion by mak­ing the coun­try’s anti-cor­rup­tion body ac­count­able to Par­lia­ment in­stead of just the prime min­is­ter, Anwar said.

It also has re­cov­ered mil­lions from the US$4.5 bil­lion (K6.91 tril­lion) that re­port­edly was mis­ap­pro­pri­ated from the in­debted 1MDB Malaysian state in­vest­ment fund, he added.

For­mer Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak is fac­ing seven charges of crim­i­nal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laun­der­ing in­volv­ing the trans­fer of 42 mil­lion ring­git (K15.58 bil­lion) into his bank ac­counts from SRC In­ter­na­tional, a for­mer unit of the 1MDB fund.

Ma­hathir, 93, has en­dorsed Anwar’s move to con­test the by-elec­tion and said he would not re­nege on his promise to hand over power, de­spite not hav­ing set­tled on a date.

A by-elec­tion will be held in the south­ern coastal town of Port Dickson af­ter a law­maker from Anwar’s party re­signed to make way for his come­back. – As­so­ci­ated Press

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