Anwar: I don’t want an apology from Mahathir

PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim says it is enough that the prime minister accepted him as a friend. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim said he had never expected an apology from his once arch nemesis, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, saying he was satisfied with the prime minister for moving on and working with him again.

Anwar was responding to Mahathir’s remarks in a BBC interview where the prime minister said he had never apologised or admitted wrongfully accusing Anwar of moral misconduct when he was sacked as his deputy back in 1998.

Anwar said the question over Mahathir’s apology came from the host who interviewed him, and pointed out that he had also forgiven former premier Najib Razak for his alleged role in money laundering and abuse of public funds.

“With Mahathir, I do not have to elaborate as he has successfully managed to implement the reform agenda, even accepting me as a friend.

“That is enough,” Berita Harian quoted him as saying at a Mahatma Gandhi memorial event in Kuala Lumpur.

Anwar received a royal pardon from the King after the May 9 general election and was released from prison where he had been serving a jail sentence for sodomy.

Mahathir met Anwar for the first time in 18 years in September 2016, and they soon declared their alliance under Pakatan Harapan to topple Barisan Nasional.

Mahathir today said he regretted that Anwar had to go to jail but that he was not to blame as it was decided by the courts.

Asked if he felt sorry for Anwar, Mahathir said he felt sorry for those who “have done something and were sentenced to jail”.

Asked earlier if he had in fact apologised, Mahathir remained coy on the issue.

“I didn’t tell him that, but other people put words into my mouth because they want me to apologise,” he said in an interview on BBC’s Hardtalk programme.

“But I never made any formal apology to him,” Mahathir told host Zeinab Badawi, who read to him excerpts from an interview with Anwar, which quoted him as saying Mahathir “apologised and sacrificed his time and energy to raise the dignity” of the country.