PUTRAJAYA – Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said if he could turn back time and choose again, he might not sack his then deputy Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He said during an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily at his office in Putrajaya that he should not have followed the law completely.
He said he made the wrong decision by going by the law completely, adding that he should not have taken the action against Anwar.
“From the political point of view, I would not have done this. When I was the prime minister, I promised myself not to do anything that would make people hate me.”
‘I had no choice’
However, Mahathir said he had no choice, as the police had presented all the evidences to him.
He said if were a dictator as many would call him, he could have put Anwar in jail directly instead of giving him a trial.
“I was angry with the police. I asked them why they didn’t give him a trial. They didn’t tell me initially but later said they had given him a ‘black eye’.
“But I insisted that he be given a trial.”
He also said he only had the power to sack Anwar as deputy prime minister and finance minister, and it was Umno supreme council’s collective decision to sack him as the party’s deputy president.
“We had a supreme council meeting until 4am. Everyone had a chance to speak. They not only didn’t want him to be deputy president, they also didn’t want him in the party.
“It was not my decision!”
Among other things Mahathir told Sin Chew Daily:
– He never instructed the closure of SJKCs.
– He will not return to Umno even if Najib steps down, or form a coalition government with Umno without Najib.
– He thanks Wan Azizah and Nurul Izzah for putting the past behind them.
– He thanks Chinese Malaysians for supporting him during the 1999 general elections.
– Umno members unhappy with Najib will secretly support Pakatan Harapan in the election.
– PPBM can help Pakatan Harapan get more Malay votes than the last two elections in order to win Putrajaya.
– Education has been constantly politicized, but the ultimate objective of education is to unite the people.
– Some Malays still need government assistance. This is to avoid widening wealth gap that will split the nation.