PETALING JAYA, Nov 6 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim acknowledged the seismic shift in the Malaysian political landscape following the May 9 general election, holding up his unlikely cooperation with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad now as evidence of this.
Speaking to Bloomberg Television’s Chief International Correspondent Haslinda Amin at the New Economy Forum in Singapore, Anwar similarly acknowledged public scepticism of the seemingly amicable ties between the two formerly bitter rivals.
However, he went on to cite recent developments that were even more unlikely, such as US President Donald Trump’s seemingly unprovoked trade war against China.
“So, is not odd to find Anwar embracing and working with Mahathir.
“It is post-normal times but it is for the greater good of Malaysia and the democratic transition in the world,” he said during an interview titled ‘Malaysia’s quest for democratic accountability’ today.
Asked if all was forgiven in his previous fallout with Dr Mahathir that traces back to his 1998 sacking as the deputy prime minister, Anwar said it was difficult to set aside the bitterness.
However, he insisted that the enmity was completely ended and eclipsed by the need to rescue the country from the previous administration.
“Yes, we suffered, my family suffered, but the country suffered between Anwar and the country, I think the country takes precedence,” he explained.
Anwar had been Dr Mahathir’s deputy during the latter’s previous stint as prime minister, but was ousted in a power struggle that resulted in the former being charged and convicted of sodomy and corruption.
The two men reconciled only in 2016 when the former prime minister met Anwar to gain his blessings to cooperate with the Pakatan Harapan pact.
Anwar said Dr Mahathir has shown a clear commitment to reforms despite the initially cynical views of people.
“Last week when he tabled the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysian Plan, he (Dr Mahathir) chanted ‘Reformasi’ seven times.
“I mean, the Reformasi was a movement established to battle him but this man had this commitment and generally Malaysians would certainly accept the fact that Mahathir is now committed to the reform agenda, judicial independence and media freedom,” he explained.
However, Anwar said the country faced major problems such as endemic corruption and the squandering of billions of ringgits.
“We have to be very tough and that is why I prefer to use the term democratic accountability than just movement towards democracy,” he said.
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