Anwar to lead Opposition over Dr M, says Wan Azizah

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 10 Mar 2020

KUALA LUMPUR (Bloomberg): Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is most likely to lead the country instead of former leader Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad if the Opposition coalition returns to power, according to a top leader in the bloc.

"I will have a meeting, and I think most probably it’s going to be Anwar, ” former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pic) said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Haslinda Amin.

Dr Wan Azizah is the president of Pakatan Harapan alliance, whose government collapsed last month, and the wife of Anwar.

Anwar has waited in the wings for nearly two years for Dr Mahathir to fulfil a campaign pledge to eventually name him prime minister.

Yet Dr Mahathir had refused to commit to a timeline for the transition even as Anwar said he expected to take over in May.

The feud along with bickering among the parties helped lead to the alliance’s breakdown.

Unity between the two long-time rivals will be key to the coalition’s ability to mount a challenge to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government.

Muhyiddin assumed power after the King judged him to be the one most likely to gain the support of a majority in Parliament, which Dr Mahathir disputed.

The former premier said he plans to call a confidence vote against Muhyiddin as soon as Parliament convenes, which is now set for May 18.

Pakatan Harapan will be ready for anything, including snap elections, Dr Wan Azizah said in the interview in Kuala Lumpur.

She doesn’t have "high hopes” for the new government, which is showing its uncertainty by delaying the parliamentary session from March 9, she said.

"We’ll have to wait and see how things will unfold, ” she added.

"Because everything looks to be so uncertain, so insecure, so fragile.”

Confidence vote

The previous government fell out of power over a weekend that followed Dr Mahathir’s pronouncement that he had the coalition’s mandate to continue ruling until around November.

Even after that, he said he would retain the right to decide whether to step down at all.

Sitting beside the 94-year-old, Anwar concurred and said he would have to be patient, which is a sentiment he has repeated many times since.

The following Monday, Dr Mahathir abruptly resigned as he said he had lost the support of his own Bersatu party, which saw a few of its lawmakers joining hands with those on the other side of the aisle.

The next few days saw political parties shift allegiances between Dr Mahathir, Anwar and later Muhyiddin.

For a time, the Pakatan Harapan coalition rallied behind Anwar after Dr Mahathir skipped out on an emergency meeting.

Yet as Muhyiddin garnered support, including from the Barisan Nasional coalition that’s allegedly been linked to corruption scandals, the alliance backing Anwar turned to Dr Mahathir for help in gaining the number of seats needed to form a government.

That move turned out to be too late as the King soon announced Muhyiddin as the country’s new leader based on an earlier tally.

It was the people who "feel they didn’t have enough” that contributed to the coalition’s downfall, Dr Wan Azizah said.

"They probably felt they wanted more. And that I think brought us down.”

When asked if she would be open to receiving those who had defected from the alliance, she said,"Betrayal is quite difficult to accept in any circumstance. Betrayal is still betrayal.” - Bloomberg

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