Anwar: Dr M ‘won’t exceed 2 years’, Latest World News - The New Paper

Anwar: Dr M ‘won’t exceed 2 years’

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Parti Keadlian Rakyat chief gives timeline of when he will become Malaysian prime minister

NEW YORK Mr Anwar Ibrahim, described as Malaysia's prime minister-in-waiting, has given a timeline of when he will succeed current premier Mahathir Mohamad.

"Of course it's not five years because he's made it very clear it would not exceed two years," the Parti Keadilan Rakyat chief said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday.

"But it's important to allow him to govern effectively because we are in very difficult and trying times."

Last month, Mr Anwar told a British business daily that there are politicians in the country's ruling alliance who want to stop him from leading the country after Dr Mahathir.

He told the Financial Times that there are "pockets, people who for their own reasons would like to sabotage these arrangements", referring to a deal within the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance for him to take over from Dr Mahathir after about two years.

"I can't deny, some people in the ruling coalition (have) a different agenda," he said.

Asked by Malaysian reporters soon after to confirm what he had said, he at first denied saying so: "I never said that. No fake news will be entertained."

But he was later quoted by New Straits Times online as saying: "You cannot deny that there are some elements who might not agree.

"It's a democratic process. What is important is PH and I and Dr Mahathir have agreed."

Mr Anwar also took Goldman Sachs Group to task for its role in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

Malaysia "will not compromise" in its talks with Goldman on the 1MDB scandal and the bank "must bear responsibility", he told Bloomberg.

He also said Malaysia is not sure it can get the US$7.5 billion (S$10.2 billion) it is seeking from Goldman but the government has a responsibility to uncover any wrong doing by the financial institution.

Goldman claims it did not know the money would be diverted when it raised the funds.

"It's not feasible or tenable to assume that the higher, top personalities in Goldman Sachs" aren't aware," Mr Anwar told Bloomberg.

Malaysia now has safeguards, he said, but he added: "However rigid the safeguards, if you have crooks running the system, they can always navigate."

In interview with the Washington Post, Mr Anwar also spoke of the challenges facing the Malaysian government.

He said the new Malaysian government is beset by challenges on all sides.

It includes huge debt, empty public coffers and the burden placed on the government by the continuing saga surrounding former prime minister Najib Razak, whose corruption trial was delayed this week.

He also criticised US foreign policy for its the inconsistency, contradiction and arrogance.

Mr Anwar told the Washington Post that the Malaysian people have watched US presidents from Mr Bill Clinton to Mr Donald Trump support autocratic rulers while paying only occasional attention to human rights and democratic values.

Mr Anwar said what Malaysia needed from the West was not interference but support and help in development.