THE plan seems simple enough — when the time comes, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be the prime minister.
Some say it would take place during the cabinet reshuffle, which is expected to take place next year, according to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday.
Others opined that it would happen on the eve of the general election.
But one thing has yet to be crystal clear — is there a deliberate delay in passing the baton, or according to Dr Mahathir, will it take place only once the house is in order?
Such are the questions that have led to a series of political dramas, especially in the wake of the result of the Tanjung Piai by-election.
At least one Barisan Nasional member of parliament is cynical about Anwar’s chances of rising to become the next prime minister.
Arau member of parliament Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim had jokingly asked Anwar during a recent parliamentary session: “Do you want our support?”
To the question, Anwar responded in the affirmative: “Of course, we want all-round support. Not only from the ruling party, but from your side (opposition) as well.”
Shahidan’s question may have come in jest, but some observers are viewing it from another possible angle — Anwar’s journey to the top office is not as easy as it appears to be, despite the formal consensus prior to the 14th General Election.
Political analyst Dr Ainul Adzellie Hasnul said it was appropriate for Dr Mahathir to want to have all affairs in order before handing over the leadership to Anwar, which may explain the delay in the process.
“There are so many issues that need to be addressed, be it (country’s) politics, the economy, with our ringgit not getting stronger, as well as the recently launched Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.
“If it’s done in a hurry, I’m afraid that it would only cause instability.
“Personally, I feel that Dr Mahathir was the main factor behind PH’s win in the general election. Thus, PH’s component parties must respect and adhere to what was agreed upon, which is for him to lead, so as not to disrupt the process of government.
“The conflict was stirred up by some PH leaders, as well as BN representatives who had expected a ‘back door’ access to the government.
“In a way, if Anwar wants to prove his mettle and show that he is prime minister material, the easiest way to do it is right after the general election.
“At the same time, I understand that (PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed) Azmin Ali wants Dr Mahathir to stay on until the end of the term as any transition of power might cause uncertainty in the country,” he said.
He was referring to the supposed meeting between Azmin and BN members of parliament on Monday.
Azmin’s sentiment is consistent with the stance of many others, including Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who had voiced support for Dr Mahathir to remain as the premier.
Azmin, who had been absent from PKR meetings, was sidelined with the party’s youth and women’s congresses next month slated to be opened by PKR advisory council chairman Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail — a role traditionally tasked to the party deputy president.
Ainul said internal bickering in politics should not be done at the expense of the people’s livelihood and wellbeing.
“The people are getting frustrated with the ongoing internal bickering. Please don’t overdo it or risk becoming a laughing stock. People will start questioning their own decision in choosing Pakatan Harapan,” he said.
What the people want, Ainul said, was for their grouses to be heard and needs met.