Malaysiakini News

Anwar: I waited four months, need to work on parliamentary reforms now

Published:  |  Modified:

Incoming PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said he waited four months before triggering the by-election that will allow him to return to Parliament.

In an interview with Associated Press, Anwar said there was an initial understanding that he should immediately seek public office upon his release from prison.

"The understanding... is that immediately after the pardon, I should enter the race," Anwar told Associated Press.

Anwar said it was important for him to "start connecting" with lawmakers and help out on parliamentary reforms.

There has been widespread criticism against PKR and Anwar for forcing the Port Dickson by-election at a time when Putrajaya was trying to tighten its fiscal belt.

Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, a former naval officer, has resigned on Wednesday as Port Dickson member of parliament to allow Anwar to contest the by-election.

Anwar was granted a full pardon on May 16 which extended back to 1998 as part of Pakatan Harapan's agreement prior to the May 9 general elections.

Another important part of the agreement was for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to hand over the prime minister’s post to Anwar in mid-term, although no date has been set.

No husband-wife PM-DPM combo

In a related development, Anwar told a PKR gathering in Johor Bahru yesterday that his wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, would step down as deputy prime minister once he is made prime minister.

"Why didn’t Wan Azizah step down? If she did, PKR will lose the deputy prime minister's post.

"(And) I have also informed Mahathir that if I win (in Port Dickson), I don't want to be in the government right away. I want to make way for Mahathir to discharge his responsibilities until my time comes.

"So… when I'm appointed (prime minister), Wan Azizah will step down. When? When it's my turn to be the prime minister. There is no need for people to make a fuss of it so early, wanting her to step down.

"This is what is happening in the country, but be patient. People raise this matter, and I explain," he said according to Bernama.

He was responding to complaints by National Patriots Association (Patriot) president Brigadier-General (Rtd) Mohamad Arshad Raji that Wan Azizah or Anwar's daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar, should have given up their seats.

Mohamad Arshad said this was necessary to prevent allegations that Anwar was trying to build a dynasty in Parliament.

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