'It's two years' - Anwar never said he wanted to be PM earlier, says Dr M

    (Updated )

    PKR president Anwar Ibrahim had never stated that he wanted to take over as prime minister earlier than the suggested two-year timeline, according to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

    "He did not say, 'I want to be (the prime minister) earlier' or anything like that," Mahathir said in an interview with Sin Chew Daily on Monday.

    However, the prime minister reiterated that he would keep his promise to step down in "over two years."

    "I thought that I would give myself two years plus, or a little bit more perhaps. But I think I will keep my promise.

    "I think he is still in the position to be the prime minister when I step down. So, you can't say now that he will never be," he said.

    Eligible for the post

    Mahathir added that Anwar's role as the leader of PKR made him eligible for the post, compared to past leaders like former deputy premier Musa Hitam and Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

    The Pakatan Harapan chairperson, however, declined to weigh in on whether Anwar is the best person to lead the country.

    "No, I don't make an assessment on that. All I can say is that, at the time when we formed Harapan, we agreed that he should be my successor.

    "I never said anything about whether he was good or bad... they wanted me to promise that I won't stay on as prime minister for a long time," he said.

    "I will be 95 years old (in two years). You know, very old," he said.

    Mahathir added that he only wanted to fix the mess left by the previous administration and reform the government.

    Despite his repeated assurances that Anwar will be handed power, doubts about Harapan's succession plan continue to linger.

    In the recently concluded Bersatu annual general assembly, delegates called for Mahathir to stay for a full term as prime minister. 

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