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Anwar Ibrahim says he will succeed Mahathir around 2020

  • Anisah Shukry and Haslinda Amin

    Bloomberg

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia   /   Wed, September 18, 2019   /   02:25 pm
Anwar Ibrahim says he will succeed Mahathir around 2020 Leader-in-waiting: Anwar Ibrahim, founder and president of Malaysia’s People’s Justice Party, listens during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, US, on Wednesday. (Bloomberg/Christopher Goodney)

Malaysian ruling party leader Anwar Ibrahim, who cut a deal to become the country’s next prime minister ahead of last year’s election, said he should take power around May 2020.

“There’s an understanding that it should be around that time, but I don’t think I should be too petty about the exact month,” Anwar said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, when asked whether the transition would happen two years after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad took power. “But there is this understanding that he will resign and that I should assume it.”

Anwar, 72, dismissed reports that Minister of Economic Affairs Azmin Ali or Mukhriz Mahathir, the prime minister’s son, would be considered for the role instead of him. Anwar’s political secretary had been briefly detained in July over leaked sex videos allegedly featuring Azmin, deputy leader of the ruling People’s Justice Party.

“There’s no sign of any party introducing or promoting or lobbying for other names,” Anwar said. “This does not stop other individuals with ambitions with their own design. And this to me is quite irrelevant. Whether it has been discussed, whether it has been given legitimacy, the answer is no.”

Questions over when Anwar will take power have loomed over Malaysian politics ever since Mahathir led the coalition to a surprise victory last year. The conflict between Mahathir’s two likely successors raised the possibility the 94-year-old would extend his stay in power as the ruling party struggled to contain internal dissent.

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