KUALA LUMPUR: In what appears to be yet another political U-turn, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed support for the man he once threw out of politics and into court, to be given a royal pardon.
Speaking to The UK Guardian in an interview recently, Mahathir claimed that in the case of former Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s current incarceration for sodomy, the latter was being unfairly treated and that the decision by the court was ‘obviously influenced by the government’.
“I think the incoming government would be able to persuade the King to give a full pardon for Anwar in which case he would be able to participate in politics and become PM.
“I can have no objection to that,” Mahathir was quoted as saying by The Guardian in an article published yesterday.
Mahathir had reportedly been interviewed by the UK daily during his recent trip to London.
The Guardian went on to describe Mahathir as the father of modern Malaysia who was now backing the man he sacked as his deputy and saw imprisoned on charges of sodomy to be prime minister, in an attempt to unseat current Prime Minister Najib Razak, described as a ‘scandal-ridden incumbent’.
Mahathir, who is now the chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi), claimed that Anwar was a victim of a political vendetta.
“Mahathir now accepts he made a mistake by not allowing Anwar to ‘succeed him’, and that he held on to power for too long, only to anoint two men who subsequently disappointed him, especially the current PM Najib, who is embroiled in one of the world’s largest kleptocracy cases,” The Guardian wrote.
In May, during a PKR congress in which Mahathir was also present, a large number of Pakatan Harapan leaders raised a placard bearing the words “Anwar PM Ke-7”.
However, Mahathir and former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin did not raise the placards, as evident by pictures shared of the convention.
Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz Mahathir, when asked why his father did not raise the placard, said he felt they (Mahathir and Muhyiddin) were busy taking pictures at the time, which was why they did not raise the placard.
As reported by Free Malaysia Today at the time, Mukhriz also said he was not given the placard.
Mahathir, Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister stepped down in 2003 after a 22-year administration.
In 1998, Anwar who was touted to be his natural successor was imprisoned after the courts found him guilty of sodomy and corruption charges.
Presently, Anwar is serving a five-year jail sentence on a second sodomy conviction. – MO