Malaysian PM Mahathir says may be prime minister for one-two years

Postado Mai 16, 2018

Anwar, 70, is expected to walk free Wednesday after obtaining a royal pardon but his expected return to politics could cause tensions in the new government led by his former foe, Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir - who ruled Malaysia from 1981-2003 - came out of retirement to oust scandal-tainted former premier Najib Razak in an astonishing election turnaround last week. He and his supporters have said the charges are politically motivated.

Yet rather than give up, Anwar worked from his prison cell to forge a new opposition alliance by ending the two-decade feud with Mahathir - a gamble that paid off when the alliance won May 9 polls and ended the National Front's 60-year grip on power.

The pardons board in Malaysia's capital will meet this week to discuss Anwar's release and Mahathir said he would be released the same day. It is also the recognition that the people have spoken and the royalty are responding to these issues.

The DoJ also named Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) as the key person of the civil suit, and said to be Najib's adviser in the business deals. "There will be no special powers given except as are given to ministers or deputy ministers or deputy prime ministers", Mahathir said.

When Mahathir was prime minister in the 1990s, Anwar was his deputy and clear heir-apparent.

Mahathir added that Anwar, after his release, would need to seek a seat in parliament and then might be given a cabinet post, but would play the same role in the coalition as leaders of the other three parties in the alliance. He was initially supposed to name 10 ministers but appeared to have been stalled by horse-trading over positions.

Mahathir said it would be hard to achieve consensus and any decisions will be based on the voice of the majority. Mahathir was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday, making him the world's oldest democratically elected leader.

"The Anwar and Mahathir relationship will be a challenge to navigate as trust, ambition and priorities will be likely problem areas", said Welsh, a Southeast Asia expert who was in Malaysia to monitor the polls.

But in 1998, they disagreed on how to tackle the Asian financial crisis and fell out.

But there have been differences between the two over the cabinet formation, and Mahathir made it clear on Tuesday that he was in charge.

Upon his release in 2004, Anwar galvanised the "Reformasi" movement against Barisan Nasional that he started before going to jail.

Mahathir has previously said he expects to stay in charge for a period of time, partly to ensure a smooth transition, but has already signalled he would eventually yield to Anwar.

His opposition alliance broke up after its Islamist ally left.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has flatly rejected any form of deal-cutting with his predecessor Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the latter's alleged involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

Najib has repeatedly denied allegations that some US$700 million found in his bank accounts were funnelled from 1MDB.

Asked to specify projects in the country which he had concerns about, Dr Mahathir said there were pieces of land being sold to Chinese companies to build large cities.

"If there is no case, we don't go for detention without trial", he said.