Mahathir knew why he sacked his deputy, says Tunku Aziz; while Chegu Bard says it was just last year when the Pakatan chairman said he did not regret his actions

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s confession that he should not have sacked Anwar Ibrahim was solely made for political purposes, said the former premier’s staunch critic Tunku Aziz Tunku Ibrahim.

Speaking to Berita Daily, the former DAP vice chairman said that Mahathir was not sincere in admitting his mistake, describing it as a desperate attempt to win the hearts of the Malays.

“It is his show again in trying to tell the people I am not the old Mahathir. Therefore the motive is highly suspected.

“He knew very well why he sacked Anwar Ibrahim. It was because Anwar was a threat to his leadership and he knew all about Anwar including his sexual orientation,” said Tunku Aziz.

Yesterday Mahathir said if he could turn back time, he would not have sacked his deputy then, Anwar Ibrahim.

In an interview with Sin Chew Daily, the Pakatan Harapan chairman said he made the wrong decision in firing Anwar, but he “had no choice”.

“Mahathir is desperate to get the Malay votes and he is not sincere at all,” added Tunku Aziz.

In the interview, Mahathir said he “should not have followed the law completely” in making the decision.

“From a political point of view, I would not have done this (sacking Anwar). When I was the prime minister, I promised myself not to do anything that would make people hate me,” he was quoted as saying.

King of U-turns

Meanwhile, former PKR member Badrul Hisham Shaharin is baffled with the confession saying it was just last year that Mahathir said he did not regret sacking Anwar as his deputy.

“It was last year that he said he did not regret sacking Anwar now he is saying he regrets it,” he said.

Badrul, better known as Chegu Bard, added that the statement from Mahathir showed the former premier’s behaviour never changed.

“Mahathir never changed. Those who fought against him changed. Mahathir is the king of U-turns. In 2019, he probably going to say that he was wrong in wanting to oust Najib Razak.

“He is a classic case of Machiavelli. He made it clear that his motive is only to kick Najib out. That’s all,” he added.

In the interview, Mahathir said he had no option but to sack Anwar after police presented evidence to him.

He said if he were truly a dictator, as many have called him, he could have ordered that Anwar be jailed immediately.

Instead, he said, Anwar got a trial.

“I was angry with police. I asked them why they didn’t give him a trial. They didn’t tell me initially, but later said they had given him a ‘black eye’.

“But, I insisted that he be given a trial.”

Anwar, after being sacked from the posts of deputy prime minister and finance minister, was jailed in 1999 after being found guilty of corruption.