Anwar Ibrahim dismissed an accusation that he belittled the Malay Dignity Congress (Kongress Maruah Melayu) held in Shah Alam over the weekend.
Describing this as “politik banggang” (brainless politics), the PKR president clarified he used the term “maruah” (dignity) and not “barua” (lackey) as alleged when he referred to the congress.
“I was joking with the prime minister and (Defence Minister) Mat Sabu (Mohamad Sabu)... (I said) 'semangat maruah', the PM heard it,” he told reporters in Parliament this morning.
In a blog posting earlier, Khairuddin Abu Hassan, who is a staunch supporter of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, excoriated Anwar for using the disparaging term.
Khairuddin referred to a KiniTV video of a joint press conference by Mahathir and Pakatan Harapan leaders after the presidential council meeting on Monday night.
The former Umno division leader claimed Anwar was perhaps slighted because he was invited to attend the congress at the eleventh hour and seeing PKR deputy president Azmin Ali seated on the stage with Mahathir and other leaders at the event.
“The fact is, God, who is all-knowing, is revealing Anwar's true nature to the people.
“He is actually a 'penyangak' (crook) pretending to be a leader. This is the reason I often state Anwar is a hypocrite.
“Although dissatisfied, Anwar should not have used such harsh words, even in a joking manner.
“Anwar is not qualified to lead the Malays and the country because he is irrational and vengeful. To me, Anwar is 'haprak' (useless). I will expose his true character when the time is right,” Khairuddin added.
This is not the first time Khairuddin, who had contested under the PKR logo in the last general election, had launched a broadside against Anwar.
Last week, Khairuddin said that he might mount a campaign to stop Anwar from succeeding Mahathir and that the nation could witness a repeat of the 1998 episode.
Anwar's joke followed Dr M's shadow-boxing
In the video cited by Khairuddin, Anwar could be heard remarking about the congress to Mohamad after the press conference concluded.
He said Mahathir's spirit appeared different after the congress, in reference to the prime minister jokingly shadow boxing and asking reporters if they wanted him to fight with Anwar.
Anwar then patted Mahathir on the leg, telling him to remain calm, to which Mahathir laughed and clenched his fists.
Meanwhile, Mohamad, when quizzed on the matter, said he was not certain what Anwar had said and told reporters to pose the question to the latter instead.
“He was standing far from me, at the time, we were leaving the meeting.
“You have to check with Anwar. I did not hear (what he said),” the Amanah president told reporters in Parliament.
Mahathir had officiated the congress which was organised by four public universities. Also present were PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa.
The organiser claimed that the congress was held in response to certain quarters questioning and challenging the position of the Malays and Islam.