"Between Najib and Anwar, I think Najib is a worse leader than Anwar. The worst leader" is how Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad responded when he was asked by NST as to what changed when he had called Anwar not fit to be a leader in the past
According to Tun Dr Mahathir, working with Anwar is far more important than allowing Najib to continue leading the country
The Chairman of the Pakatan Harapan Government, whom many consider the glue that is holding the coalition together, said that while he and Anwar have had a turbulent past, he realised that it was need of the hour to stop their quarrel to displace Najib.
"I think that to have Anwar replace a person like Najib is more acceptable than to have Najib carry on, so I decided that I would work (with) Anwar, (despite) whatever I may have said about him before, (despite) whatever he has said against me before.
"I thought that our working together was far more important, in order to displace Najib, than for us to quarrel," the Prime Minister emphasised.
I knew if we didn't work together, Najib would be the next prime minister and that would be disastrous for the country.
When asked whether Anwar would be able to keep the PH coalition together after his stint as the country's 7th Prime Minister is over, Tun Dr Mahathir vouched for his former protégé's leadership quality, saying he was the one who built the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat
"I think he has been leading a considerable part of Pakatan Harapan. In fact, he was the architect of Pakatan Rakyat. Of course, Pakatan Rakyat failed because they were not that cohesive. But after we came together, we were able to work much more closely.
"The fact remains that he was from Umno, and Umno, of course, was not very liked by the opposition. He left Umno and he was able to bring DAP, Pas even, and his party together, so he has leadership quality," the veteran leader told NST.
Speaking on the current scheme of things, he said that while he doesn't see any substitute yet, Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had been able to stand in for him when he was away
"So far, I have been able to lead. We don’t see any substitute yet at the moment, but there have been occasions when I left the cabinet and Wan Azizah was leading and she was able to conduct the meeting, at least for the short period I was away.
"There was once when I was out of the country, she conducted the meeting.
"So, in a sense, the structure is expected. Now, who fills in after me, or after Wan Azizah, is something else," Tun Dr Mahathir said.
"Of course, what we say is that Anwar will take over. Anwar has been a deputy prime minister before. He ought to know how to keep the party together," he added.
You can read the full interview of Tun Dr Mahathir with NST here.