PETALING JAYA: The handshake between former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his protege-turned-nemesis Anwar Ibrahim is a betrayal to their supporters, says Raja Sara Petra.
In a statement, Sara, who is the daughter of self-exiled blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, related the pain she and her family went through for her father’s support of Anwar after the then deputy prime minister was sacked by Mahathir.
“I was just 13 and in Form 1 when the police stopped our car to take my father away,” she said, adding at the time she was not fully aware as to what was going on.
She said she was only told that her father might be away for a long time, though she did not know for how long.
Sara said she was told her father had to be locked away because he supported Anwar and opposed Mahathir, and was led to believe that doing so was a serious crime.
“On Monday, Anwar and Mahathir met up and shook hands. So, 18 years’ of animosity is now water under the bridge. The past is the past. Forgive and forget.
“But what about people like me, who for many years suffered emotional stress that every knock on the door is, yet again, the police coming to take my father away?”
For the last seven years, Sara said her father lived in exile because he supported Anwar and questioned whether Anwar and Mahathir were going to apologise to her for the 18 years of suffering and the weekly trips she had to make to the Kamunting Detention Centre in Taiping.
She said the handshake between the two former Umno stalwarts was a betrayal to those who were dragged into their personal conflict and were now forgotten political pawns.
“It is just as well the truth is revealed now before it is too late.
“So the fight was not really about change after all as we were told. It was just about power.”
On Monday, Mahathir made an unscheduled visit to a High Court hearing in Kuala Lumpur after the urgent application by his former nemesis, Anwar, to seek an injunction to suspend the coming into force of the controversial National Security Council Act.
Mahathir, who left Umno earlier this year, shook hands and briefly exchanged pleasantries with Anwar in the witness room.
It is believed that it was the first time both Mahathir and Anwar met after a lapse of 18 years.
Observers have noted that the handshake is likely to strengthen ties between Mahathir’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Pakatan Harapan.