SHAH ALAM: It was supposed to be a 'no holds barred' event but Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad appeared to have evaded from giving direct answers to several questions posed at the Nothing To Hide 2.0 forum today.
These included two questions on the jailing of Pakatan Harapan leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy in 1998, and if Dr Mahathir was agreeable to have a convicted person as prime minister.
Political activist Fariz Hadi, 32, who stood up when moderator Azhar Harun opened the floor for questions said he wanted to know if Anwar was jailed because he had committed the offence, or was it politically motivated.
"If it was true that he (Anwar) was guilty of sodomy, he is a convicted felon. How can Pakatan Harapan make a prisoner as prime minister?
"So, I want to know if Datuk Seri Anwar was indeed guilty, or if he was jailed as a victim of Dr Mahathir's political greed? I am asking this on behalf of all Malaysians because for long we had been arguing about this," he asked.
The former premier, with his usual sarcasm, answered that he had met Anwar but was never asked such question.
Dr Mahathir said the focus (of Pakatan Harapan) today was on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and that the jailing of Anwar was "a matter of the past".
"Whether he becomes prime minister or not, if the 'rakyat' wants him to be the prime minister, then they have the right to elect him.
"If the majority wants Anwar, we need to accept. All these (matters of the past) will only divide us. If we want to win, we need to unite and do not question any issues among us, but focus on our objective which is to topple Najib-led government."
Fariz when met later said he only wanted to get a clear answer about the sodomy case against Anwar, but was disappointed when Dr Mahathir did not provide one.
Meanwhile, earlier during the forum which was attended by some 1,000 people, Dr Mahathir had also described the federal government's monetary initiative to assist ex-servicemen and the poor as bribes.
He said it was also against the law for Barisan Nasional-led government to hand out annual financial assistance of RM1,200 to non-pensionable veterans.
"In a democracy, we determine the country's leadership through election. Do not try to cheat when election is conducted.
"Today, we can see that a lot of money were being given and promises made including to military veterans, that those who don't qualify for pension can get pension.
"This is against the country's laws, as the law determines who qualifies to get pension and who does not. They give pension so that these people will support the government." he said.