(The Star) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad sidestepped a question on his fractious history with jailed Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the Nothing To Hide 2.0 forum on Sunday, reiterating that the issue was “in the past”.
The former prime minister said that even Anwar had not questioned him about the real reason he was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998.
“Even Anwar has never questioned me about that. His main focus is on toppling Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. This issue is already very old. If we want to raise past issues, then it will be very difficult for everyone,” he said at the forum held at the Dewan Raja Muda Musa here.
An audience member had asked the Pribumi chairman to reveal whether his reason for sacking Anwar was because the latter had committed sodomy, or if it was because he was seen as a political threat.
Asked why he was now campaigning for Anwar to be eventually made Prime Minister if Pakatan Harapan wins the next general election, Dr Mahathir said that the decision would ultimately not be up to him.
“Whether he becomes PM or not is not up to me. If the people want him then they have the right to choose him. Even if I disagree – but the majority want Anwar – then that is something we need to accept,” the Pakatan chairman said, adding that a person’s capability to be prime minister cannot be judged based on the number of “sins” they had committed.
“If you ask someone how many sins they have before choosing them as PM, then I figure no one can be PM,” he said.
On a separate question as to whether he would officially apologise to Anwar in order to strengthen the Opposition pact before the next general election, Dr Mahathir said there was no need for an apology.
“Anwar has never asked me to apologise. I met him for more than an hour, and he didn’t even ask me why I put him in jail or tell me to apologise for mistreating him,” he added.
The forum on Sunday had to be abruptly suspended after several individuals instigated violence by throwing projectiles including bottles, shoes, and even flares in the direction of the stage.
Dr Mahathir, who was seated on stage with moderator Azhar Harun, was immediately rushed out of the hall with his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali and other Opposition leaders who were present.