Foolish to make Anwar PM immediately: Ex-Finance Minister Daim

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - It would be foolish to make Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim prime minister as soon as he returns to Parliament, Tun Daim Zainuddin said during an interview with Singapore's The Straits Times.

According to the report, Daim, who heads the Team of Eminent Persons, said it is not time for an immediate change of premiership.

“The transition will be mid-term. If you break your promise to the people, they are not going to trust you any more.

“It will be foolish for anybody to change (prime ministers now),” Daim told the daily.

The Straits Times reported that 80-year-old Daim, who is known as “The Oracle” for his consistently accurate political predictions, had met with Anwar to convey the message that “you all tried how many elections and failed. Whether you like it or not, Mahathir succeeded”.

The Pardons Board is scheduled to meet on Wednesday (May 15) to discuss the proposed Royal Pardon for Anwar, after which it would need the Royal Assent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had earlier announced that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V has agreed to a full and immediate pardon.

As Anwar’s incarceration for a sodomy charge barred him from contesting in GE14, Dr Mahathir was named Prime Minister and Anwar the Prime Minister-in-waiting.

Dr Mahathir had pledged to make way for Anwar to take over the prime minister role in two years.

However, Anwar would first need to contest in a by-election to be elected a Member of Parliament.

As soon as Pakatan Harapan formed the government on May 10, PKR leaders had been rushing to secure Anwar's release.

The Straits Times also reported Daim as saying that the Team of Eminent Persons has identified several people to be part of a special taskforce to reopen investigations into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

They include former anti-graft chief Abu Kassim Mohamed and former deputy central bank governor Shamsiah Yunus, who both investigated the scandal in 2015 before the probe was halted during several reshuffling of the heads in the Attorney-General’s Chambers and Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission.

“In principle, they have agreed, but I cannot announce it until I see it in writing. As soon as it is done, if I can start this week, I will start this week,” Daim was quoted as saying.

He also dismissed concerns that Pakatan was accepting too many Barisan Nasional leaders into the coalition.

Civil society had previously urged Dr Mahathir to stop accepting Barisan component parties, warning that the people did not vote for a “Barisan Nasional 2.0” administration.

Daim told The Straits Times that it was a “number’s game” in states with hung assemblies and narrow majorities.

He added that Sarawak's dominant Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu would not be joining Pakatan and was merely looking to maintain good ties between the state government it controls and the Federal Government.

“Just now, Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg called the Prime Minister and also spoke to me.“I said, ‘Stay where you are... Take care of the state. In Parliament, you want to support, support; don't want to support, it doesn't matter - we have enough (majority)’,” Daim told The Straits Times.

Mahathir scores shocking win in Malaysian Election

  • Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has officially been sworn in as Malaysia's seventh Prime Minister.
  • Dr Mahathir took his oath of office as Prime Minister before Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V at the Istana Negara at 9.57pm Thursday (May 10).
  • The 92-year-old was accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
  • This means that Dr Mahathir will be the world's oldest prime minister and the first Malaysian to be premier twice.
  • At a press conference earlier, Dr Mahathir said he would appoint Dr Wan Azizah as deputy prime minister once he is sworn in.
  • Dr Mahathir received the mandate to form the government through Pakatan, which managed to wrest 113 out of 222 federal seats in GE14.
  • Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters during a press conference at the Sheraton Petaling Jaya Hotel on 10 May 2018.
  • Mahathir Mohamad holds up a document with the signatures of alliance party leaders naming him as the prime minister during a news conference following the general election in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, May 10, 2018.
  • Najib leaves after a news conference on May 10.
  • Malaysia's outgoing Prime Minister Najib Razak (R) speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 10 May 2018.
  • Mahathir's stunning defeat of the coalition that has ruled the Southeast Asian country since independence from Britain six decades ago means that, at the age of 92, he will become the oldest elected leader in the world.
  • Official results showed that Mahathir's Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) had won 113 of parliament's 222 seats, clinching the simple majority required to rule.
  • Najib's ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN), had 79. Pic: Barisan Nasional party members watch election results updates at the Barisan Nasional coalition headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.
  • Supporters of Mahathir Mohamad, former Malaysian prime minister and opposition candidate for Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope), celebrate outside the hotel, where Mahathir Mohamad held news conference, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, May 10, 2018.
  • Mahathir told a news conference he expected to be sworn in as prime minister later on Thursday.
  • Few had expected Mahathir to prevail against a coalition that has long relied on the support of the country's ethnic-Malay majority.
  • Mahathir has promised to seek a royal pardon for Anwar if they won the election and, once Anwar is free, to step aside and let him become prime minister.
  • Ethnic-Malay Muslims have long tended to support BN for affirmative-action policies that give them government contracts, cheap housing and guaranteed university admissions.
  • Mahathir's alliance, which counts on urban votes and support from the minority ethnic Chinese and Indian communities, had hoped the veteran Malay leader would win over voters usually loyal to BN. That strategy appeared to have paid off.
  • Mahathir's opposition wrested control of key states Johor and Kedah, and reduced BN's grip in strongholds like Sarawak.
  • Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrives at SK Titi Gajah in Alor Setar at 10.55am to cast his vote.
  • The Election Commission said voter turnout was at 55 percent out of the total 14,449,200 voters in GE14 as of 1pm on May 9.
  • Dr Mahathir Mohamad is keeping a positive outlook on voter turnout throughout the day.
  • By 5pm May 9, some 70 per cent of voters had cast their ballots for what has been dubbed "the mother of all elections". The latest polls show a neck-and-neck race to the finish for ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) and opposition pact Pakatan Harapan (PH).
  • Voters still queuing up within the compounds of polling stations nationwide for GE14 were not allowed to vote after the 5pm cut-off time but any voter affected can file a petition to demand a re-election.
  • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib votes at a polling station during the 14th general elections in Pekan on May 9, 2018.
  • Malaysians went to the polls on May 9 in one of the country's closest ever elections which pits scandal-hit Prime Minister Najib Razak against his one-time mentor, a 92-year-old former authoritarian leader.
  • The Barisan Nasional chairman arrived at his polling station Sekolah Sains Sultan Ahmad Shah at 9.20 am together with his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. Najib was all smiles when he was greeted by other voters who were present at the station.
  • 9.29am: PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail voted in SK Seri Penanti in Permatang Pauh. After casting her vote, she immediately left and returned to Selangor where she is contesting for Pandan parliamentary seat there.
  • The Barisan chief is in a four-cornered fight for the Pekan seat. (Pic) Barisan Nasional deputy chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis successfully cast their ballots at the Madrasah Manbail Ulum voting centre at Sungai Nipah Darat.
  • Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Datin Seri Lee Sun Loo cast their vote at SK Sulaiman in Bentong.
  • PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who is defending his Marang parliamentary seat, arrives at SK Rusila in Marang to cast his ballot.
  • EC staff making final preparations at a polling station at Stadium Titiwangsa in Kuala Lumpur.
  • An instruction notice for voters is seen at a voting center on the eve of the 14th general election in Pekan, Pahang on May 8, 2018.
  • Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) offers special prayers a day before the 14th general election at a mosque in Pekan, Pahang, Malaysia, May 8, 2018.
  • Women vote during the general election in Alor Setar, Malaysia, May 9, 2018.
  • People boarding buses back to Malaysia. at Singapore's Golden Mile complex on May 8.
  • Supporters listen to a speech by former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad
  • This picture taken on May 8, 2018 shows Malaysians gathering at an election rally in Petaling Jaya to watch a telecast of 92-year-old former authoritarian leader Mahathir Mohamad.
  • Voters queue up in the early morning to cast their ballots at a polling station during the 14th general election in Alor Setar on May 9, 2018.

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