Anwar says he never offered to join Cabinet, will wait turn as PM

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, seen here with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail during a Parti Keadilan Rakyat retreat in Port Dickson on July 19, has said he has no plans for new ministers to be add
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, seen here with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail during a Parti Keadilan Rakyat retreat in Port Dickson on July 19, has said he has no plans for new ministers to be added to the Cabinet.PHOTO: BERNAMA

He says he will follow PH's plan, give Mahathir 'full space' to lead

KUALA LUMPUR • Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday that he has never offered himself to be a member of the Malaysian Cabinet and will take over the reins of governance when the time was right.

He said there was no issue at all on whether he would like to become a member of the Cabinet, as he was bound by a signed agreement within the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition on its succession plan.

"Thank you, I've never offered myself to be a member of the Cabinet. I'm tied to PH's consensus that I should give the full space for Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to lead the Cabinet and the understanding is that I will assume (the post) at the right moment," Datuk Seri Anwar told Malaysian media.

"I have never proposed or planned to join the Cabinet because the signed consensus within PH was that Dr Mahathir would be the prime minister and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail would be his deputy until it is my turn to become the prime minister."

Mr Anwar said this in response to Tun Dr Mahathir's recent remarks that there was currently "no vacancy" in the Cabinet.

Dr Mahathir had been asked when Mr Anwar, who is MP for Port Dickson, will join his administration. "At the moment, no minister wants to resign. If someone resigns, and there is a vacancy, then we will fill it," Dr Mahathir said on Thursday.

He added that he has no plans for new ministers to be added to the present Cabinet, amid reports he would reshuffle Cabinet soon.

Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, the Deputy Prime Minister, told reporters yesterday that there is no issue about there being no vacancy in the Cabinet. "I guess (there will only be a vacancy in the Cabinet) when the Prime Minister vacates the seat as promised," said Dr Wan Azizah, who is Mr Anwar's wife.

Dr Mahathir has on numerous occasions given his assurance that he would hand over the reins to Mr Anwar as promised, but there is no fixed time frame as to when this will take place.

The 94-year-old Prime Minister had said that he would step down before the next general election, which is due to be held in 2023, and that he would hold office for two to three years.

Dr Mahathir became Malaysia's prime minister for the second time in May last year, after PH won the election. He previously served as prime minister from 1981 to 2003.

NO PLANS TO JOIN THE CABINET

I have never proposed or planned to join the Cabinet because the signed consensus within PH (Pakatan Harapan) was that Dr Mahathir would be the prime minister and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail would be his deputy until it is my turn to become the prime minister.

MR ANWAR IBRAHIM, responding to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's recent remarks that there was currently "no vacancy" in the Cabinet.

The Straits Times reported last week that Dr Mahathir will reshuffle his Cabinet soon, after he previously said some of the ministers in his 15-month-old administration have performed poorly.

However, Mr Anwar was expected to continue remaining outside the Cabinet, even if there were changes to the line-up.

Dr Mahathir later confirmed that no one would be axed, but that he might change some portfolios.

 
 

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said in a recent interview that only fate will decide whether Mr Anwar would be the next prime minister.

To this, Mr Anwar responded by saying that fate has a hand in all matters, including life, death, marriage and the prime ministership.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2019, with the headline 'Anwar says he never offered to join Cabinet, will wait turn as PM'. Print Edition | Subscribe