KUALA LUMPUR • There is no rush to make de facto Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader Anwar Ibrahim prime minister, party president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said.
Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah, who is the new deputy prime minister, said the appointment would be made, in accordance with the original plan, during the middle of the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government's term.
"Right now, we want the government helmed by (Prime Minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to function smoothly," she told reporters after visiting Datuk Seri Anwar at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital. "We want his administration to bring about the changes and reformation that is needed."
She was asked to comment on Tun Daim Zainuddin's remarks in an interview with The Straits Times published yesterday.
Tun Daim, who heads the Elders Council, had said it would be foolish to have Mr Anwar installed as prime minister immediately after he returns to Parliament.
Mr Anwar is due to be released after the Pardons Board meets this morning. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had pledged to make way for him to take over the post in two years.
Separately, Tun Dr Mahathir has said Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng can be officially appointed Malaysia's finance minister only if and after he is cleared in his corruption case.
Dr Mahathir said Mr Lim has been named finance minister, but has yet to take his oath of office. "Every minister must be someone who is qualified for the position. If there is a case against such a person, we cannot appoint him or her," he told reporters on Monday after meeting ministry secretaries-general on the functions and roles of the new government.
Mr Lim was Penang's chief minister for two terms from 2008.
Asked who would take charge of the Finance Ministry for now, Dr Mahathir said: "I am not taking charge but they report to me.
"We have a panel which will look into the work at the ministry. Some implementations which can be carried out, will be carried out. For some, we will need to wait until the minister is appointed."
Dr Mahathir said that while there is no alternative candidate for the post, it is understood that where ministries need to make a decision but the head has not been established, matters will be brought to the prime minister.
Mr Lim, 58, is facing trial in Penang after being charged with buying a bungalow at a big discounted price from a family friend. He was also separately charged over granting land re-zoning approval to a company in his position as chief minister.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK