Anwar says 'traitors' trying to keep him from being Malaysia's next prime minister

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim speaking during a conference in Singapore on April 26, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim says that "traitors" are trying to stop him from replacing Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and becoming Malaysia's next prime minister, in line with an earlier agreement.

Saying that he was fed up of talking about the issue, the Port Dickson MP added that it was more important to focus on economic development and the people's well-being.

"That's why I don't really like to talk about it, but the problem is that there are a lot of orang khianat (traitors)," he told PKR members during the Sabah PKR convention at ITCC Penampang near Kota Kinabalu on Monday (Oct 28).

Datuk Seri Anwar said when people asked whether he could still wait to be the eighth prime minister, "I have waited for 20 years, so it's okay. Don't worry."

"If God wants to make it happen, it will happen," he said, adding that he was not pushing for the leadership transition and urging everyone to continue supporting the federal and state governments for pressing development needs.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Mahathir said only the Pakatan Harapan presidential council could determine who would be prime minister.

This came after opposition MPs urged the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman to remain as prime minister until the next general election.

Prior to GE14, Pakatan had decided that Dr Mahathir would be prime minister for a few years before handing over the baton to Mr Anwar, but no timeframe or exact date was given.

Recently, there was speculation that former Umno vice-president and Sembrong MP Hishammuddin Hussein was trying to oust DAP and Parti Amanah Negara from the Pakatan Harapan coalition to form a new government, prompting the Pakatan secretariat to issue a statement strongly denouncing the plot.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin has denied any involvement in such a campaign.

At the press conference after the convention, Mr Anwar said, in principle, there was no objection to controversial former federal minister Salleh Said Keruak joining PKR.

He said he had informed Datuk Seri Salleh, whose membership status was still pending, that they normally did not have a problem accepting anyone, but they had to take into account the party members' sentiments.

Asked about Mr Salleh's known past as a loyalist to Umno and former premier Najib Razak, Mr Anwar said that should not be an indicator of whether or not to accept someone into the party.

"I take such comments into consideration, but I myself was a committed member of Umno in the past," he said.

Mr Anwar added that he had spoken to Sabah PKR chief Christina Liew and other leaders about it, but if Mr Salleh pledged commitment to the party's struggles, then they might just have to consider taking him in.

On other matters, he said although PKR's stand on the 20 per cent oil royalty and 40 per cent net revenue to be returned to Sabah was consistent and still valid, what was more important was for the federal government to have good governance and fight corruption.

"What has been promised should be fulfilled," he added.

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