Ma­hathir: I should not have acted against An­war


FOR­MER premier Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad says if he could turn back time and make choices afresh, he would prob­a­bly not change any of the de­ci­sions he had made.

But out of po­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion, he would not have re­moved then deputy prime min­is­ter cum fi­nance min­is­ter Datuk Seri An­war Ibrahim.

An­war was later jailed six and nine years re­spec­tively for abuse of power and sodomy. How­ever, in 2004, he ap­pealed to the Fed­eral Court, which over­turned his sodomy con­vic­tion.

Asked what de­ci­sions he had made wrong dur­ing his 22-year ten­ure as prime min­is­ter, Ma­hathir, who now heads the op­po­si­tion Pakatan Hara­pan, told Sin Chew Daily in an in­ter­view pub­lished yes­ter­day that he should not have fol­lowed the law to the let­ter.

“I think I should not have acted against An­war. From the po­lit­i­cal stand­point, I would not do that (act against An­war), be­cause when I be­came the prime min­is­ter, I promised my­self not to do any­thing that would make peo­ple dis­like me.”

He said in the 1999 gen­eral elec­tion, he lost as many as 300,000 Malay votes. The black eye An­war re­ceived in lock-up led many Malays to take up the re­for­masi call against Ma­hathir.

“I was very un­happy with the po­lice (then). I asked them why not put him on trial (right af­ter An­war was ar­rested)? Ini­tially, they did not tell me, but even­tu­ally they said (they had) given him the ‘black eye’. I in­sisted he be taken to court.”

He re­called that he only sacked An­war as the deputy prime min­is­ter cum fi­nance min­is­ter but re­mov­ing him from the party no. 2 post was a col­lec­tive de­ci­sion of the Umno supreme coun­cil.

He said he will not re­turn to Umno even if Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Ab­dul Razak steps down or forms a coali­tion gov­ern­ment with Umno sans Na­jib.

On An­war’s ad­vice to his wife and daugh­ter to put the past be­hind them, Ma­hathir said he was grate­ful to Datuk Seri Dr Wan Az­izah Wan Is­mail and Nu­rul Iz­zah for their mag­na­nim­ity.

He said he has not for­got­ten that it was the Chi­nese sup­port that “saved” him in the 1999 gen­eral elec­tion and that the Chi­nese have not for­got­ten he re­solved the fi­nan­cial cri­sis in 1997-98.

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