KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian ruling party leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who’s widely expected to be the country’s next prime minister, said his succession should happen by 2020.
His rivals have no legitimacy, Anwar said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad returned as prime minister last year with a pledge to hand over power to Anwar, 72, who said as recently as February that he expects to assume the post within two years.
"There is no sign of any party introducing or promoting or lobbying for other names," Anwar said. "It does not stop other individuals with ambitions, ” he said, describing them as "irrelevant.”
Anwar, leader of the ruling People’s Justice Party, has rebounded from a spat with his deputy, Minister of Economy Affairs Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, over sex videos allegedly featuring Azmin. Anwar’s political secretary was detained over the leaked videos and later released.
The conflict between Dr Mahathir’s two likely successors risked pressuring the 94-year-old to extend his stay in power as the ruling party struggled to contain internal dissent.
Since coming into power, Pakatan Harapan has struggled to maintain the support of the country’s Malay Muslim population, who make up the country’s majority. Backlash from Malay groups forced the administration to backtrack from its promises to ratify international treaties on anti-discrimination and crimes against humanity.
Anwar said the government must allay fears and concerns of ethnic Malays, noting affirmative action is vital for all races to escape poverty.
Government policy must also ensure fair distribution of wealth and fight corruption to address state leakages. - Bloomberg