Mahathir: Working with Anwar better than allowing Najib to lead, Latest World News - The New Paper

Mahathir: Working with Anwar better than allowing Najib to lead

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PETALING JAYA: Working with Mr Anwar Ibrahim is more important than allowing former prime minister Najib Razak to continue administering the country, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said.

In an interview with New Straits Times, Dr Mahathir said although he had previously criticised Mr Anwar's ability to lead, he found Najib to be a "worse leader than Mr Anwar".

"The worst leader," Dr Mahathir emphasised.

"I think that to have Mr Anwar replace a person like Najib is more acceptable than to have Najib carry on, so I decided that I would work with Mr Anwar, whatever I may have said about him, whatever he has said against me before," he said.


The 93-year-old premier also voiced his trust in Mr Anwar's leadership ability in building the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat.

"In fact, he was the architect of Pakatan Rakyat. Of course, Pakatan Rakyat failed because they were not that cohesive. But after we came together, we were able to work much more closely.

"The fact remains that he was from Umno, and Umno, of course, was not very liked by the opposition.

"He left Umno and he was able to bring the Democratic Action Party (DAP), the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) even, and his party together, so he has leadership qualities," he said.

Dr Mahathir also said Mr Anwar would know how to keep Pakatan Harapan together if he resigns but for now there is no substitute for his position.

"So far, I have been able to lead. We don't see any substitute yet at the moment, but there have been occasions when I left the cabinet and (Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) was leading and she was able to conduct the meetings, at least for the short period I was away.

"So, in a sense, the structure is expected. Now, who fills in after me, or after Wan Azizah, is something else. Of course, what we say is that Anwar will take over. Anwar has been a deputy prime minister before. He ought to know how to keep the party together," he said.

Mr Anwar, who is prime minister-in-waiting, said yesterday Dr Mahathir was right.

He said Mr Najib had a poor track record based on his financial management.

"I think Dr Mahathir's view is accurate," he said, adding that he appreciated the Prime Minister's confidence in him. - THE STAR