Malaysia's Anwar agrees with Mahathir not to change deputy premier for now

Anwar Ibrahim meeting Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya.
Anwar Ibrahim meeting Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ANWAR IBRAHIM

PETALING JAYA - Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim, president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), said on Thursday (June 20) that he agrees with the stance taken by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad not to change the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), or make any Cabinet changes, at the present time.

Datuk Seri Anwar, widely seen by his followers as the "prime minister in waiting", said he made this decision at a meeting with Tun Dr Mahathir.

"In the meeting, I agreed with his stance to give attention to nation-building programmes as well as not making changes in the DPM post and Cabinet," Mr Anwar said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

The PKR president said the short meeting was held in Putrajaya, Malaysia's administrative capital, before Dr Mahathir's trip to Bangkok later on Friday.

The decision by PM Mahathir could deal a blow to Mr Anwar's supporters, as some have been calling for Mr Anwar to quickly replace his wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, as Deputy Prime Minister.

The Pakatan Harapan alliance had agreed before the general election in May last year to make Mr Anwar prime minister after Dr Mahathir leads the country for two years, should it win power at the polls.

One year has passed, but Dr Mahathir has not given a date for when he would hand over power, and even dropped hints that he might continue after two years. This has led some of Mr Anwar's supporters to push for him to take up the deputy premier post first.


Mr Anwar wrote on his Facebook page that the sex video scandal allegedly implicating Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali was also brought up in his meeting with PM Mahathir.

"Discussing it further, I stressed that there exists an element of politics involved in this issue and it was unreasonable to accuse anyone of spreading it without proof," Mr Anwar said.

The scandal broke last week when PKR youth member Haziq Aziz claimed he was one of the two men shown in the viral sex video, and claimed the other man was Datuk Seri Azmin.

The minister has vehemently denied the claim and said it was part of a plot to kill his political career.