Jailed former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is too old to become Malaysia's next prime minister, said former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“I think he is too old,” Mahathir told The Australian in an interview, claiming that Anwar is now 74 years old. Anwar is 68.
“When I was in my 70s I announced I can’t be PM at the age of 80, so I indicated that I was going to step down and I did before I was 80,” said the ninety-one-year-old.
Mahathir however added, “If people support him, there’s nothing I can say.”
The former premier was commenting on the possibility of Anwar becoming the next prime minister if the former’s efforts to oust Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak are successful.
Anwar has backed the Save Malaysia movement spearheaded by Mahathir to achieve this goal.
Mahathir however indicated that Anwar's support was accepted almost grudgingly.
“I am not in partnership with him. He agreed to support the removal of Najib.
"I cannot afford to reject any support, so I can’t just tell him ‘please don’t support me because I don’t like you’.
“I can’t do that.”
He also said that whether or not he likes Anwar now does not matter.
However he repeated his infamous revulsion for his deputy concerning the latter’s alleged “immoral” issues.
“The fact is, people complained about his moral behaviour. For me that behaviour is not acceptable as a person who was about to succeed me as a president of the party,” he told The Australian.
“I had to expel him from the party. The rest is about his immoral behaviour and the people complained against him,” Mahathir said.
Anwar was acquitted of his first sodomy charge made under Mahathir’s administration after the latter retired.
Ironically, he faced a second similar charge under Najib’s administration and is serving a prison sentence after a lengthy series of trials and an initial acquittal on appeal.