By Abdul Karim Rozilan
THE announcement by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after the Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting last night was certainly not what the people were expecting.
What most were anticipating was for Dr Mahathir to announce a date for the transition of power from him to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Though the premier had earlier said he would hand over the prime ministership to Anwar after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), Malaysians were waiting for a firm announcement on the date.
A PKR leader who did not want to be named said the “announcement” was a big let-down and not what they were waiting for.
“The least Dr Mahathir could have down was give us a date. There is so much uncertainty over the transition and this is not only affecting the political parties, but also the nation’s economy as a whole,” he said.
He explained that the political uncertainty in the country was doing well for the economy which was reflected in last year’s GDP figures.
He said investors who at one time flocked to Malaysia were all shying away due to this uncertainty.
“A firm date would have been good. At least investors along with the people here would know what to expect.
“It remains a mystery why Dr Mahathir is till today so reluctant to fix a date … unless he has something else up his sleeve,” he said.
Another political leader from DAP said those concerned must realise and admit that if it had not been for Anwar in the first place, there would be no PH and Barisan Nasional would probably be still in power.
“The Reformasi movement was born following Anwar’s arrest and out of that, Bersih was born.
“It was only due to pressure from these two movements, that gave rise to so much awareness and political interest among the people that they kicked BN out.
“Also, there was a pre-electoral promise made and the rightful and honourable thing to do would be to honour this,” he said.
He said the people were grateful to Dr Mahathir for all he has done so far, but fear there may be adverse repercussions if he did not keep his word.
Speaking to the media at Perdana Leadership Foundation last night, Dr Mahathir said the PH presidential council made a unanimous decision to allow him to set the date.
“We have discussed this at length, I don’t have to repeat what we decided on. There were two opinions and in the end, it was all left up to me. What I say they will follow.
“The transition will take place after Apec (and) there is no timeframe, no date, nothing.
“It is up to me whether to let go (of power) or not. That was the trust given to me by the party,” he said.
Anwar had since called on the people to remain patient and assured them that Dr Mahathir will honour the promise.
“We are unsure what arrangement the two leaders have made within close doors, but as far as the people are concerned, there is still plenty of uncertainty.
“It would be better if those concerned were more transparent. After all, this uncertainty is also leading to plenty of internal squabbling within the political parties concerned.
“As it is now, certain parties are badly divided and this not augur well for their chances in the next general election.
“If PH does not get its act together in time, we may well end up losing and handing over Putrajaya back to BN on a silver platter,” cautioned the party insider.