Mahathir to keep promise to hand reins to Anwar after 2 years

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he will honour his promise to be prime minister for only two years before handing over the reins to his former political adversary Anwar Ibrahim, according to Bernama news agency.


“I am confident that he (Anwar) is now more mature and much experienced,” he told a gathering of Malaysians residing in Brunei at a hotel in Bandar Seri Begawan Sunday tonight.


He was a replying to a question from one of the guests who had voiced worry about history repeating itself on the choice of the successor. There is an agreement among the political parties making up the ruling coalition known as Pakatan Harapan that Mahathir will serve as interim prime minister before transferring power to Anwar after two years.


Anwar, who was sacked by Mahathir in 1998 and later jailed on sodomy charges, is currently president of PKR, a major component of Pakatan Harapan.  There have been doubts whether Mahathir would keep the promise to step aside for Anwar after two years.


He also dismissed accusations that he is an “Ultra Malay” for his strong support for preferential treatments for Malays.


“For me the country comes first, so that there no wide gap between the races. Even if a country is not multiracial, if there are wide disparities among the people, it will invite disaster,” he said.


According to him, if the gap was very significant, especially along racial lines, it would lead to animosity and widespread rioting.