Malaysia’s Anwar: It is likely I’ll be PM next year

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Malaysian ruling party leader Ibrahim Anwar, who’s widely expected to be the country’s next prime minister, said his succession should happen by 2020. THE STAR (MALAYSIA)/ANN

Anwar Ibrahim, who cut a deal to become the country’s next prime minister ahead of last year’s general election, says 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.

“But there is this understanding that he [Prime Minister Dr Mohamad Mahathir] will resign at the appropriate time, ” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday.

The People’s Justice Party (PKR) president and Port Dickson Member of Parliament (MP) was asked whether the transition would happen two years after Mahathir took power.

Anwar, 72, dismissed reports that his party deputy, economic affairs minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, or Mukhriz Mahathir, the prime minister’s son, would be considered for the role instead of him.

“There’s no sign of any party introducing or promoting or lobbying for other names.

“This does not stop other individuals with ambitions with their design. And this, to me, is quite irrelevant. Whether it has been discussed, whether it has been given legitimacy, the answer is no,” he said.

Questions over when Anwar will take power have loomed over Malaysian politics ever since Mahathir-led the Pakatan Harapan coalition to a surprise general election victory last year.

Mahathir has repeatedly promised to hand over power to Anwar, without setting a timeline.

He said he would step down once he found the country’s situation on an even keel, which could take two or three years.

The conflict between Anwar and Azmin, including over sex videos allegedly featuring the latter, has raised the possibility the 94-year-old would extend his stay in power as the ruling coalition struggles to contain internal dissent.

Anwar’s political secretary was detained over the leaked videos and later released.