PUTRAJAYA – The Government has dismissed claims that the Prisons Department was ordered to stop Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad from visiting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in hospital.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) denied that he gave any such order, adding that the decision was made entirely by the Prisons Department.
“The decision did not come from the minister. On operational matters, I give my full trust to the departments under the Home Ministry,” said Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, at a press conference on Thursday after his ministry’s monthly assembly.
Prisons director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Omar, who was also at the press conference, added that the department did not receive any formal application from Dr Mahathir for the visit.
“If there was an application, it could have been considered, but that is still subject to approval. In the past when he (Anwar) received visitors, formal applications were made.
“According to Section 26 of the Prisons Act, when a prisoner is in a hospital, it is still like he is in prison. Therefore, he remains governed by prison rules, and any approval for visits can only be given by the prison.
“Family members are allowed to visit prisoners in the hospital. However, other visitors require special permission,” he said.
Zulkifli added that the Prisons Department has the authority to deny visits for safety reasons.
On Wednesday (Jan 10), Dr Mahathir, who is Pakatan Harapan chairman, arrived at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital where he was welcomed by Anwar’s daughter, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.
However, after meeting prison officials, the former prime minister was told he was not allowed to see Anwar.