Mahathir had meant a royal personality, says Anwar

SEREMBAN: Anwar Ibrahim today said that the prime minister was referring to a particular “personality” from a royal family when stating that opponents to the Rome Statute were trying to pit the Malay rulers against the federal government.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said Putrajaya’s decision to withdraw from the treaty was because of smear campaigns by “certain quarters” who had politicised the issue.

The Rome Statute is an international agreement that created the International Criminal Court (ICC), which serves to complement existing laws in a state to prosecute individuals who commit international crimes.

Anwar, who is PKR president, had been asked to comment on speculation that Mahathir, who is Pakatan Harapan chairman, was referring to someone from the ruling coalition.

However, Anwar said Mahathir’s statement was very specific. “The prime minister was making reference to a specific attempt by a particular personality in the royal family or household and there was no reference to party personnel,” he told reporters here today.

Anwar said the public should not to cast aspersions beyond what Mahathir had said.

“It was clear to me because he did elaborate when we had our discussion together,” he said, adding that the media was “naughty” for interpreting Mahathir’s statement in a particular way.

However Anwar, who is poised to succeed Mahathir as the prime minister, said Putrajaya’s decision to withdraw from the treaty should be properly explained.

“Similar to the ICERD issue, any negative interpretation by the opposition needs to be taken into account and clarified,” he said, referring to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The government decided not to ratify the international rights treaty last year after critics said it would undermine the special position of the Malays as spelt out in the Federal Constitution.