MALAYSIA'S leader-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim returned to Parliament as a lawmaker on Monday, and vowed to give his former nemesis Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad space to get on with running the country.
Mr Anwar brushed aside questions about when he will become premier, and insisted he would let Dr Mahathir have "the space, the latitude" to get on with governing, AFP reported.
"That's very important because some of the decisions that have to be made by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are key, fundamental decisions of policy," the 71-year-old told reporters. He said these decisions involve government policies and are aimed at reversing the flawed decisions of the previous Barisan Nasional administration. "For that, we would need total and unequivocal support by Pakatan Harapan and that includes me," he said.
He also insisted he would not take up a Cabinet position. "No, I stand by my earlier decision that I don't intend to serve any positions. I'm happy with this position," he said at a press conference in Parliament.
Expressing gratitude towards Dr Mahathir's move to campaign alongside him in the recent Port Dickson polls, Mr Anwar described the 93-year-old's energy as extraordinary. "That is why, when I first won (the by-election), I was among the first to inform the good news to Dr Mahathir.
"Even just now, before swearing-in as the Port Dickson MP, I also managed to tell him that my job is to ensure that the government remains stable and strong under his leadership," he was reported by The Star Online Web site as having said.
He also disclosed that he has no intention of being the chief Whip (of the PKR) or the backbenchers' leader for the Pakatan coalition. "I just want to be the supporter of the chief Whip. It's more relaxing. I can meet whomever I want and I can say whatever I want. Formal positions will only serve as a challenge."
Pakatan's manifesto states that, with the consensus achieved by DAP, PKR, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Amanah Negara, Anwar will be made prime minister within two years.
MPs applauded as he took the oath of office following his election victory over the weekend, a sight unthinkable just months ago, when he was a jailed opposition leader.
Mr Anwar has also created history in another way - Parliament now has a husband, wife and daughter serving as Members at the same time. He will have the company of his wife, Pandan MP Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and daughter Nurul Izzah, the Permatang Pauh MP in the Dewan Rakyat.
The former deputy premier's remarkable political resurrection was triggered by his alliance's shock election victory in May, which toppled a corruption-riddled coalition that had ruled Malaysia for six decades.
Following the triumph, Mr Anwar was pardoned and released from jail, where he had been imprisoned since 2015 on widely criticised sodomy charges, and is now the presumptive successor to the country's leadership.
Dr Mahathir has pledged to hand power to him within two years. The deal was struck when the pair, whose up-and-down relationship has long loomed over Malaysian politics, formed an unlikely alliance to take on the government of Najib Razak.
Mr Anwar, who needed to be elected as an MP again to succeed Dr Mahathir, cruised to a thumping win in Saturday's poll in Port Dickson; his opponents included an ex-aide whose sodomy accusations landed him in jail.
It is the first time that Dr Mahathir - who, during his first stint as premier, sacked Mr Anwar and had him thrown in jail - and his former foe have been in the same government since the 1990s.