KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says he will stick with an agreed plan to pass the prime ministership to MP Anwar Ibrahim, amid ongoing mudslinging and turmoil in Malaysian politics caused by the release in June of a gay-sex video.
Datuk Seri Anwar, president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), and his deputy Azmin Ali, along with their supporters, have been attacking each other daily, following the release of the video clip that purportedly showed Datuk Seri Azmin engaged in sex acts with a young man.
Mr Azmin, who is the Economic Affairs Minister, has denied he was one of the men in the video, and blamed a nefarious plot to sink his political career.
Both Mr Anwar, 71, and Mr Azmin, 54, have been touted as prospective prime ministers by their factions in the PKR, the biggest party in the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
Tun Dr Mahathir told Turkish television channel TRT on Monday that he will not renege on a PH plan to make Mr Anwar the next PM.
Dr Mahathir, asked to comment on his ties with Mr Anwar, who was his protege turned enemy and now turned ally again, said: "Well, I have already agreed that when I step down, he will take over from me as prime minister."
The 94-year-old added: "That is a promise I made and I will stay with the promise." Dr Mahathir has variously said he would step down between two and three years after becoming prime minister, following PH's surprise electoral victory in the general election in May last year.
But he has not given a specific date on when he would do so, which raised some suspicion in the Anwar camp that Dr Mahathir would likely appoint Mr Azmin as Malaysia's eighth prime minister.
I'm not going against my own promise. Whatever happens, I will stick to the promise I made.
PRIME MINISTER MAHATHIR MOHAMAD
He told TRT of the succession plan: "I'm not going against my own promise. Whatever happens, I will stick to the promise I made."
Mr Azmin has said in recent days that he agreed with opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia and some leaders in Umno, another large Malay Muslim opposition party, that Dr Mahathir should serve as prime minister for the full five-year term.