PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he will step down as Prime Minister within three years, handing over the reins to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“As far as I’m concerned, I have made a promise that I will step down and that Anwar will succeed me,” the prime minister told CNBC in an interview in Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday (June 22) where he was attending an Asean summit.
Mahathir had said that the government needs three years to reduce Malaysia’s debt from 80% of gross domestic product to 54%.
When asked whether he would stay in office to see out that goal, Mahathir said: “No, I will not go beyond three years.”
Dr Mahathir said his priority is to enable Malaysia to “resolve this (debt) problem” even after he steps down.
The issue of power transition has been brought to the fore recently as no formal timeframe has been set for it to happen.
In February, Anwar said he expected to be prime minister in no more than two years' time, adding that Dr Mahathir must be given enough space to govern effectively during "very difficult and trying times".
Prior to the 14th General Election, Pakatan component parties agreed that if they had won, Dr Mahathir would be the premier for two years before handing over the reins to Anwar.