Anwar was too liberal to be made deputy: Mahathir, Latest World News - The New Paper

Anwar was too liberal to be made deputy: Mahathir

This article is more than 12 months old

Former prime minister says Malays cannot accept PKR leader's multiracial vision and will be rejected

PETALING JAYA: Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said he could not make Mr Anwar Ibrahim his deputy because he is perceived by the Malays as too liberal.

In a wide-ranging interview published in Sinar Harian, he said this was so even when the Parti Keadilan Rakyat president agreed to nominate him as the eighth prime minister.

"Anwar is perceived by the Malays as being liberal. He talked about multiracialism when he left Umno, and he created a (multiracial) party to go against me.

"When Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah left Umno (in 1988) and started a new party (Parti Melayu Semangat 46), it was a Malay-based party.

"Anwar left (Umno) and created a party for all (races) - liberal. Then, he got the support of Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Islam SeMalaysia - his philosophy was liberalism.

"The Malays cannot accept this as they fear their position will be threatened.

"They have political power, no economic power. If the Malay strength is not stressed on, the liberal concept (in politics) will be rejected," said Dr Mahathir.

He was asked how Mr Anwar decided to back him as the eighth PM, The Star reported.

"When they (Amanah and DAP) thought that I was not going to win, they assumed Anwar had the most votes.

"Then they realised those who supported Anwar would not be able to win. They returned to back me.

"Anwar wanted to be deputy but I did not agree because I knew the support for him was not as it turned out to be.

"There were two people whom they do not like - Anwar and Lim Guan Eng," said Dr Mahathir.

In another interview with Nikkei Asian Review, he said retirement is not on the cards and he will make yet another comeback if people wanted him.


He told Nikkei: "Even now, (party members and supporters) are coming to see me, I tell them, 'Look, I'm old, 94 years old', but they say they see people with experience. I had experience as PM for many, many years... so they think that I can resolve many of the problems."

Dr Mahathir also wants to retain his position as MP for Langkawi, claiming it would be selfish to retire.

"I cannot stand seeing a government that does something wrong," he said. "I feel I have a duty to do something."

The shifting positions of MPs also disappointed him, Dr Mahathir said.

He told Nikkei: "Well, I feel disappointed. Disappointed because they all practically swore and even signed statutory declarations saying that they supported me, but it was all bluff."

In the Sinar Harian interview, Dr Mahathir also spoke about what he thought of the majority race in his country.

He told Sinar Harian: "The Malays like things easy. They don't want the hard way. That habit is still embedded in the hearts of the Malays."

He added: "I have frequently explained that Malays are weak not because they don't have the ability, but they hold on to negative life values.

"For example, wanting to get rich quick. Quick riches will only lead you to getting poor quick."