Mahathir: I will hand over PM’s post to Anwar as promised
KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he will hand over the prime minister's post to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim as planned.
"I have already agreed that when I step down, he will take over from me as the Prime Minister," Dr Mahathir told Turkish television channel TRT. "I'm not going against my promise. Whatever happens, I will stick to the promise I made."
Dr Mahathir has variously said he would step down two to three years after becoming prime minister, following the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition's surprise electoral victory in the general election in May last year.
But he has not given a specific date for the handover of power, which raised some suspicion in the Anwar camp that Dr Mahathir may appoint Economics Affairs Minister Azmin Ali as Malaysia's eighth Prime Minister, The Straits Times reported.
Both Mr Anwar, 71, and Mr Azmin, 54, have been touted as prospective prime ministers by their factions in PKR, the biggest party in PH.
Mr Azmin was recently embroiled in a gay sex video scandal which led to a war of words between him and Mr Anwar.
Mr Azmin, who is also PKR's deputy president, also said Dr Mahathir should stay the full five-year term until the next election due in 2023.
Dr Mahathir, 94, did not provide specifics about when he would actually step down, saying only that it "is very difficult to predict", the Malay Mail reported.
"The thing is that at this moment we see already a lot of improvements in the situation of the country," he said.
"And I think in maybe a year or two... the country would be able to succeed as before."
Asked to comment on a YuGov survey released last Tuesday that showed Dr Mahathir was Malaysia's most admired man in 2019, he said: "They identify me with the development of Malaysia.
"And they believe I would be able to... maybe make Malaysia again an Asian tiger."