KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s 94-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad again declined to say when the long-promised succession of Anwar Ibrahim, a former rival, will take place.
“For tonight, there is no time, no date fixed,” Mahathir said, seated beside Anwar during a midnight press conference in the administrative capital Putrajaya.
Mahathir said the decision to allow him decide the date of his resignation was “unanimous,” coming after a three-hour meeting of party leaders from the Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition.
Anwar said that Mahathir has the governing coalition’s “full support.”
“In the meantime, I will just be patient,” he said.
After a a dramatic return to politics to lead the alliance to a shock win in May 2018 elections, Mahathir, the world’s oldest head of government, said he would pass the baton to Anwar within two years.
However Mahathir never gave a date for the transfer and since said he wants to stay on until after Malaysia hosts the 2020 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in November.
Anwar was deputy to Mahathir for part of his first 1981-2003 tenure as prime minister, but was jailed on charges of sodomy and corruption after a spectacular falling-out with his old boss.
The two men reconciled before Mahathir – who said he was returning to front-line politics due to corruption allegations against 2009-18 premier Najib Razak – led the opposition alliance to victory in 2018 elections. The shock result saw Mathathir depose his former allies in Najib’s National Front coalition, who had governed Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957.Show