In a remarkable turn of events, Mahathir has told the Guardian that he would have “no objection” to Anwar becoming prime minister.
He also said Anwar should be allowed to contest in the coming general election.
An excerpt from the Guardian report:
“In the case of Anwar we can make a case that he was unfairly treated. The decision of the court was obviously influenced by the government and I think the incoming government would be able to persuade the King to give a full pardon for Anwar,” Mahathir said. “In which case he would be able to participate in politics and become PM. I can have no objection to that.”
While some of us may not be able to forgive Mahathir for what he has done, this turn of events perhaps represents the best opportunity to move towards a new politics that will enable us to come together and tackle the real issues plaguing the country – instead of being bogged down by the divisive old politics of race and religion.
I used to be critical of the Mahathir administration, for the way he treated his critics (Operation Lalang), crippled the judiciary, introduced neoliberal policies and allowed crony capitalism.
But if Anwar can find it himself to forgive Mahathir – even if it is for political reasons – then maybe it is time to come together for the nation. We won’t get anywhere with the present brand of politics. If anything, we are sliding fast by the day..
Mahathir’s latest remarks are a major concession, short of (or perhaps equivalent to) a full apology to Anwar.
Indeed, he has come a long way in making amends for his past: meeting Anwar in court, participating in Bersih 4 and 5, and now leading Bersatu into the opposition coalition.
Now, if Mahathir can find it in himself to apologise especially to the ISA detainees and the suspended judges (and their families), who suffered enormously, his stock would rise immeasureably. It would be a huge step forward in his rehabilitation – and redemption.
Please do it, Dr Mahathir. You have nothing to lose – and everything to gain.