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Is a vote for you a vote for Anwar? Well, in a way, says Dr M
Published:  Mar 16, 2018 4:49 AM
Updated: 5:57 AM

In 1998, Dr Mahathir Mohamad had thrown everything but the kitchen sink at his heir apparent-turned nemesis, Anwar Ibrahim.

In return, the latter rained accusations on his former boss, which ranged from corruption to outright villainy, across the globe.

Two decades later, the hatchet has been buried.

In an interview with Australia's ABC, Mahathir, who now heads the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan and is its prime minister-designate, was asked if a vote for him in the coming general election would be a vote for Anwar.

"Well, in a way, it is because I have promised that I would be the prime minister for a short while until he (Anwar) is pardoned.

"He needs to be pardoned by the King before he can participate in politics again," he said, adding that the pardon process could take between two or three years.

"I don't think I want to stay on for much longer because I am conscious about my age and I don't think I can survive too long or one full term as prime minister," added Mahathir, who turns 93 in July.

Anwar is currently serving a five-year prison term for a sodomy conviction. He is expected to be released this June.

The former opposition leader has always maintained that the second sodomy charge, similar to the first during Mahathir's tenure, was fabricated by his political rivals.

Meanwhile, ABC also questioned the former prime minister on the perceived “hypocrisy” of his actions with regard to Anwar.

In response, Mahathir insisted that he felt his actions were justified.

"By comparison to what is happening now, I think that what I did was perhaps a little bit harsh, but it was different circumstances entirely and now I think the more important thing is not to look back in the past..," he said.

Mahathir stressed that Anwar and he shared a common objective - to remove Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in the forthcoming 14th general election.

In another interview last week, Mahathir said if he could turn back the clock, he would not have sacked Anwar.

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