We met many times, why should I block Anwar, says Daim

Daim Zainuddin says he visited Anwar six times during the latter’s imprisonment.

PETALING JAYA: The head of the now-disbanded Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) has rubbished claims that he was out to stop Anwar Ibrahim from becoming the prime minister as agreed under a deal by the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

The former finance minister, seen as one of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s most trusted allies, said he and Anwar enjoyed a good relationship, and he had met him six times before the general election when Anwar was serving time in jail.

He said if the government could change hands from Barisan Nasional to Pakatan Harapan without any problem, there was no reason for a similar succession from Mahathir to Anwar who are part of the same coalition.

“Succession was smooth from Barisan Nasional to [Pakatan Harapan] … so why not within the same party? Why should I stop it? What powers have I got?” he told the South China Morning Post today.

Last month, PKR’s Kapar MP Abdullah Sani told party members that Daim was behind a conspiracy to stop Anwar. He has since apologised for the remarks which were condemned by several PPBM leaders.

Daim ridiculed such a suggestion, saying he was partyless and had no influence on the government.

“I don’t know where they get the idea that I don’t want [Anwar]. Who am I?” he said.

“I am more than 80 years old… I don’t have any party. You are telling me the whole cabinet is going to listen?

“I don’t know how people even entertain this kind of thing.”

Daim also told SCMP that among his tasks in helping the current government was to gather facts on “what went on” after Mahathir’s retirement in 2003.

“We act solely as an advisory body … the government makes decisions, not the council,” he said, referring to CEP, the council whose five members were handpicked by Mahathir to advise him on the direction and reforms to be undertaken by the new government.