Whoever gets tapped had better watch his step around the boss; ousted deputy Anwar Ibrahim has appeared in court covered in bruises and on Nov. 2 will stand trial for corruption and sodomy -- charges that Dowell suspects Mahathir dreamed up after watching the Republicans go after Bill Clinton on CNN. "Anwar's only crime seems to be that he had a viable political following," Dowell says. High up on the next No. 2's résumé will be a lack of any outside support whatsoever -- which will go awfully hard on him when he finally gets the top job.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Having jailed his last No. 2, Malaysian prime minister Mahathir announced Tuesday he's looking for a new successor. But TIME reporter William Dowell says don't raise your hand -- it's a promotion to the lion's den. "It will take a lot of courage to accept this job," he says. "Mahathir's economic policies are slowly making things worse, and political opposition is growing. When Mahathir steps down, he'll leave his successor to face the wrath."