Wan Azizah admits offered PM's post
Published on: Thursday, October 11, 2018

JAKARTA: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail admits that she has been offered the post of Prime Minister after Pakatan Harapan (PH) won the 14th General Election (GE14) on May 9.Sharing the information for the first time with some 200 members of Malaysian diaspora here, Wan Azizah said the offer came from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V as she is the president of PKR, the party which symbol was used by all PH component party members in the GE14.

"However, I had to turn down the offer because we have made a promise (to the people) that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will become Prime Minister and I, the Deputy Prime Minister," she said during the event at the Malaysian Embassy here.

While admitting that PH was also surprised when it managed to put an end to Barisan Nasional's (BN) 61-year rule of the country, Wan Azizah also said that she was grateful that the GE14 was successfully carried out in a very democratic and peaceful manner.

However, she said the PH also did not expect that when it took over administration of the country, it also inherited a huge amount of debt and practically destroyed administration and financial system.

Wan Azizah said even though several promises in the PH manifesto for the GE14 had yet to be fulfilled, she really hoped that all Malaysians could be patient before the government could really implement the desired changes.

To a question on whether the government would evaluate the performance of its ministers and replace those who failed to perform well, she said it was too early to make such evaluation as it was merely five months since the PH government took over administration of the country.

"Give us some time because we are still in the learning curve," she said, adding that only a handful of the PH ministers had vast experience in country's administration, namely Dr Mahathir and Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, while Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali had experience in state administration.

Wan Azizah also shared her proud moment being the first woman to chair the Cabinet meeting when Dr Mahathir was abroad.

She is on a day visit to Indonesia, which is her first after being appointed as Deputy Prime Minister on May 21.

Meanwhile, Wan Azizah described her maiden working visit to Indonesia as Deputy Prime Minister as highly successful and was appreciative of the warm welcome accorded to her by the republic's leaders.

She said although it was a short one, it provided an opportunity to further boost bilateral ties.

"I am grateful for the warm welcome accorded to me by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

Although I had a packed schedule, this maiden visit by me (as Deputy Prime Minister) is very significant, it reflects the importance of Indonesia to Malaysia ," she said.

In terms of economic cooperation, Wan Azizah said that in her 20-minute meeting with 20 Indonesian industry players, they stated their interest in raising investments in Malaysia.

"Trade collaboration will be increased which will benefit the people of both countries," she said.

Wan Azizah said the government would also encourage more Malaysian companies to explore investment opportunities in Indonesia.

She said in 2017, Malaysia-Indonesia bilateral trade amounted to RM72.63 billion (USD16.89 billion), a 22 per cent increase over 2016.

That makes Indonesia Malaysia's seventh largest trading partner globally, and the third largest among Asean countries after Singapore and Thailand.

Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said during a meeting with Indonesian Women Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Yohana Susana Yembise, discussions were held on children rights issues as well as the commitment of both countries on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


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