Claiming to have forgiven Dr Mahathir, Anwar tells others to also ‘move on’

Radzi Razak
·3-min read
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks during the ‘Bicara Tokoh’ programme in Kajang April 10, 2021. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks during the ‘Bicara Tokoh’ programme in Kajang April 10, 2021. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KAJANG, April 10 — PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim urged political leaders to “move on” from the politics of hatred just as he had “forgiven” former nemesis Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2018.

Commenting on the state of politics in the country now, Anwar said he was called a “Pemaaf tahap dewa (God-tier forgiver)” as he was always looking forward to working for the good of the nation.

In a forum today, he recounted how he was grilled by foreign leaders, academics and media after he famously made amends with Dr Mahathir prior to the 2018 general election after being sacked by the latter 20 years before.

“I was asked in Washington, New York, London, ‘Have you actually forgiven? Why did you forgive Mahathir? He was cruel, he was oppressive ’

“But I said, revenge is a disease of the heart, if you think about it, it will interfere with our work. We move on, that’s what we should do now,” he told a forum organised by the National Professors Council in Country Heights today.

In the two-hour session, Anwar was grilled by Prof Datuk Mohamad Agus Yusoff and Prof Muhammad Asri Mohd Ali about current events in the country.

Anwar also recounted that he had objected to the decision by Pakatan Harapan in 2018 to nominate Dr Mahathir to be the prime minister but relented as it was the consensus in the alliance.

However, he pointed out that he had warned them from Sungai Buloh Prison to be wary when working with his former mentor.

“So I followed the consensus even though I was heavy. If you remember, there was a letter from me that was smuggled out of prison, that’s what I said: leopards never change their spots and don’t get bitten by the same serpent twice.

“If you (PKR leaders) have to be together, please remember such things,” he said referring to Dr Mahathir.

The Anwar-Dr Mahathir rivalry was seen as one of the reasons why the PH government had been problematic. The former claimed the latter did not want to adhere to the coalition’s consensus, which then led to the collapse of the administration in 2020.

In January this year, Dr Mahathir insisted he was never against Anwar’s bid to succeed him as prime minister despite never following through on that promise.

He claimed that the process ran into issues when Anwar began pushing for the transition to take place earlier than what they had agreed on.

Dr Mahathir then agreed that Anwar could still become the prime minister, but explained the influence he has over such eventualities has diminished.

Dr Mahathir, who now heads Parti Pejuang Tanah Air, also denied being the main advocate of former Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal as a better prime minister candidate than Anwar.

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