A staunch loyalist of Anwar Ibrahim today penned a passionate plea for support for the PKR chief while blaming Dr Mahathir Mohamad for causing the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, in a sign that the opposition remains split between the two veteran politicians.
PKR vice-president Xavier Jayakumar said Anwar was the “sole leader” who had fought hard to bring down the Perikatan Nasional government.
“We should all be praising and thanking him for doing this, as he was the only one putting his neck out to achieve what all the other members of Pakatan Harapan were hoping for,” Xavier, the Kuala Langat MP who served as the water, land and natural resources minister under Mahathir’s 22-month government, said.
“Imagine if he had succeeded, everyone would all be rejoicing and enjoying the fruits of his labour.”
Anwar and his supporters several times claimed he had the majority to topple Muhyiddin Yassin’s government, which came to power following PH’s collapse in February.
Several votes on the 2021 budget in the Dewan Rakyat however showed the prime minister still has the upper hand.
Xavier said Mahathir had squandered the opportunity given to him by PH to lead the government.
“The people need to understand that the state of the nation now and the downfall of the Pakatan Harapan government is not because of Anwar, but due to Mahathir’s unilateral decision to resign as prime minister without consulting other Pakatan Harapan leaders.
“This was after we gave him a chance to join us in making those changes. His party was a minority in the government, even then we gave him the opportunity to become prime minister and yet he failed to deliver,” he said.
Mahathir’s resignation in February came on the back of open bickering within PH, days after the coalition’s top leaders came to an agreement to allow him to continue for as long as needed without any timeline to transfer power to Anwar.
In its 2018 election campaign, PH had said Anwar would replace Mahathir as prime minister.
Mahathir however resisted calls for him to vacate the seat for Anwar, saying he would only do so once the economy recovered.
Earlier this week, Mahathir scoffed at Anwar’s claim of having majority support despite calling on MPs in the opposition bloc to vote down the 2021 budget.
Xavier meanwhile took potshots at other parties which did not participate in several votes on the budget during the debate on allocations for ministries.
MPs from Sabah-based Warisan, led by Shafie Apdal, had several times steered clear of voting.
“If we had shown unity with all in attendance, many of the ministries’ budget votes would have been lost by PN,” Xavier claimed.
He said Anwar needed all support, adding that “extraordinary times” required “extraordinary measures… to save the nation”.
“On this aspect I congratulate Anwar for his efforts in trying to bring about change and we should all be in support of him, whichever way it needs to be done.”