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The prime minister-in-waiting must not jump the queue

COMMENT | Anwar Ibrahim, the president-designate of his party and prime minister-in-waiting and his handpicked successor, Rafizi Ramli, are both extraordinary politicians as they have made equally extraordinary sacrifices.

One went to jail while the other has been sentenced to jail. But they, especially Anwar, must know there is no such job as a prime minister-in-waiting.

Granted that all four parties in the new ruling coalition of Pakatan Harapan - Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Malay-based Bersatu, Amanah (the breakaway from the Islamic party PAS), Chinese dominant DAP and Anwar’s mainly Malay Parti Keadilan Rakyat or PKR - have all inked an agreement to let Mahathir be the PM should Harapan oust the corrupt BN regime under Najib Abdul Razak.

Thereafter, Anwar would take over, presumably in the mid-term of the Harapan rule. Anwar was at that time incarcerated in prison under trumped up-charges by Najib and the scheme of things was for Mahathir to let him out of prison via a royal pardon as soon as they win the May 9 general election.

All this, bizarre as it may sound, has come to pass. Harapan is now the ruling coalition. Anwar is out of jail and Najib is awaiting trial involving money laundering, corruption, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust. If found guilty, he may end in in jail for up to 125 years. He has pleaded not guilty to all seven charges. More charges are in the pipeline.

But Anwar has to know the appointment of a PM is decided under the provisions of the Federal Constitution. There is no provision for a PM-in-waiting. Yes, there is a signed agreement to make him one. But it may not worth the paper it’s written on, unless it follows the constitutional pathway.

So, Anwar has to join the queue. Unfortunately, he cannot wait. He has unleashed Rafizi Ramli as his warlord to make sure no one stands in his way. And where does the warlord gets his war chest from?

All this is most unsettling as it begins to look like, sound and stink like Umno’s gutter politics. But we have swept that all away by resoundingly returning Harapan as the new ruling coalition on May 9. No more old politics please. Ours is the New Malaysia...

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