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Anwar urges Harapan leaders not to squabble in public over transition

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As Pakatan Harapan leaders cross swords over the leadership transition issue, Anwar Ibrahim has urged them to keep such discussions behind closed doors.

The PKR president pointed out that he has pledged to support Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to helm the nation, especially with regard to strengthening the economy.

“I urge all quarters in Harapan not to discuss the transition of power in the open and to respect the consensus agreed to in January 2018 (for Mahathir to pass the baton to Anwar).

“Harapan and Mahathir have repeatedly affirmed their commitment to ensure the success of the transition process as agreed.

“Therefore, we must respect this decision so that it (the transition) takes place peacefully and in an orderly manner,” he added in a brief statement this afternoon.

Yesterday, Harapan Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman lashed out at those, whom he described as Anwar's “fervent supporters and allies”, for harping on the transition issue.

Accusing them of turning their backs on the consensus, he said their incessant attacks made it difficult for Mahathir to administer the nation.

The rebuke came in the wake of DAP lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh stating that the prime minister should accept responsibility for Harapan's five by-election defeats.

To arrest the declining public support for the coalition, he emphasised, among others, the need for a clear timeframe on the transition.

Syed Saddiq's remarks raised the ire of Penang Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy, who reminded the former that Harapan would not have been able to defeat BN in the last general election if Anwar did not ignite the reformasi movement two decades earlier.

“No one is forcing Mahathir to leave office at once, but we want him to fix a date for the handing over of power to the next in line that is Anwar,” he said.

PKR vice-president Chang Lih Kang, on the other hand, questioned Syed Saddiq's silence when certain quarters urged Mahathir to serve out his full term.

He said this call was also in breach of the Harapan consensus.

In an interview with Reuters last month, Mahathir said he would remain in office until the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) countries summit in Kuala Lumpur in November.

“I made a promise to hand over and I will, accepting that I thought that a change immediately before the Apec summit would be disruptive.

“As far as I am concerned, I am stepping down and I am handing the baton to him (Anwar). If people don't want him, that is their business, but I will do my part of the promise… irrespective of whatever allegation. I made my promise, I keep my promise,” he added.

Despite Mahathir and Anwar's repeated assurances that the transition would take place as promised, speculation is still rife over whether this would materialise due to the absence of a clear timeframe.

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