Mahathir reaffirms Anwar as his successor
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has reaffirmed that his successor will be Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim and not Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Despite requests for him to stay on until the next general election, Dr Mahathir said he is committed to stepping down before then, The Star reported.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald in Bangkok, when asked if he would definitely pass the baton to Mr Anwar instead of Mr Azmin, Dr Mahathir replied, "Yes I will".
"My commitment is to step down before the next election, certainly," he said.
However, Dr Mahathir declined to give a specific time frame for the agreed power transition, which has been a bone of contention. "I cannot say whether it is two years or three years, but I will certainly step down as I promised," he said.
Dr Mahathir was in Bangkok for the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit.
There have been calls from within the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition as well as the opposition for him to stay as prime minister until the end of the this government's mandate.
But the succession plan is for him to hand over to Mr Anwar, who has said there is a written agreement on the transition.
Dr Mahathir said he will campaign for PH in the upcoming Tanjung Piai by-election, the Malay Mail reported.
It also quoted him as saying that Malaysia is a small country and does not have the military might to take on China in the South China Sea.