I warned Dr M about ex-IGP’s short temper, says Wan Azizah

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says it is the prime minister’s prerogative to appoint Abdul Rahim Noor as mediator in southern Thailand peace talks.

GEORGE TOWN: Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail today voiced reservations over the government’s selection of the former top cop who gave her husband a black eye in prison in 1998 as the mediator in southern Thailand peace talks.

Abdul Rahim Noor, who served as inspector-general of police from 1994 to 1999, punched Anwar Ibrahim in the eye on Sept 20, 1998.

Wan Azizah said while she was “not very pleased” with his appointment to facilitate peace talks between Bangkok and Muslim rebels in southern Thailand, the decision was Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s prerogative.

In an interview with radio station BFM, she said she recently met with Mahathir to voice her opinion.

“Mahathir told me Rahim had experience during the insurgency and terrorist activities.

“But I explained to him why my daughter had reservations because of past incidents. It was not easy for us to accept,” she added.

“He (Mahathir) said Rahim had experience. I said well, he has shown some shortness of temper.”

She said it was important for Malaysia to focus on the matter at hand so the problem could be resolved and the chosen candidate could deliver.

Abdul Rahim Noor

When asked if it was harder to forgive Rahim than Mahathir, Wan Azizah said she would “forgive all”.

“If I had revenge in my heart, it would have been different. I really thought, let’s be magnanimous, we have done well, there are many things to be grateful for and I am glad for the blessings from Allah.

“I feel that I can live with it, but we are humans and we sometimes have our ups and downs,” she added.

Rahim, who resigned in 1999 over his assault on Anwar, was jailed for two months the following year.

He replaces Ahmad Zamzamin Hashim who was appointed by the previous Barisan Nasional government to facilitate the peace talks between Thailand and Mara Patani, a coalition of rebel forces.

His appointment received backlash from several quarters, including Anwar’s daughter and Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and DAP veteran Dr Boo Cheng Hau.