PAS just trying to pit me against Dr M, says Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR president Anwar Ibrahim today said he felt the need to speak against PAS only after the Islamist party’s “concerted and continuous efforts” to pit him against Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He repeated that there was no basis for PAS’ claim of a planned no-confidence vote against Mahathir because “we are bound by an agreement, which is to support him as prime minister”.

“For two to three years, when PAS attacked me, I did not retaliate even once because I knew PAS as my friend.

“But when I see such continuous efforts to pit me against Dr Mahathir, even after I have suffered for 20 years, I needed to speak up,” he said at a press conference after attending the “Sastera Kumpulan Utusan” prize presentation ceremony at its office here today.

The Port Dickson MP said the issue of a no-confidence vote against Mahathir was first raised by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, but after speaking to component parties in Pakatan Harapan (PH), all the leaders denied hearing any such thing.

“I repeat PKR’s stand to support the prime minister, as had been agreed upon,” he said.

Anwar said while there was room in politics for differences of opinion, it was not appropriate to slander others.

On preparations for the Rantau by-election, Anwar said PKR’s political bureau would conduct a meeting tonight to discuss the candidate, machinery and strategy for the by-election.

Asked if the candidate would be a male or a female, Anwar said it would be one of the members, adding former candidate Dr S Streram was also being considered.

“We will know the list of candidates this evening after the meeting. As for the announcement, we need to respect the process in PH,” he said.

On the rising incidents of insults directed towards Prophet Muhammad, Anwar said such things smacked of stupidity and was of no benefit to anyone.

“To criticise and question some aspects of a religion is fine. But to insult someone’s faith and the prophet is stupid, evil and does not benefit the country.

“If you are going to defend the right to speak to the point the country is thrown into turmoil, there is no way you can do that,” he said.

Anwar said such defenders were no different from Islamophobes.

He also urged people not to link such statements to any race or religion.

“There are some Malays who say such views belong to non-Muslims. This is not true. Many non-Muslims do not agree. At the same time, non-Muslims do not like us to insult their religions.

“Stern and strong action must be taken against those who voice such insults,” he added.