Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called for egos to be cast aside in order to defeat Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 15th general election (GE15), citing the coalition’s defeat in GE14.
Mahathir said prior to GE14 he had met with his former protege turned adversary Anwar Ibrahim with the aim to bring down then prime minister Najib Razak.
“When I met Anwar in court, the only thing I had in my mind was how to stop Najib and Umno from continuing to reign,” he said, referring to his highly publicised encounter with the PKR president in September 2016. Anwar was serving time in jail over his Sodomy 2 conviction at the time of the meeting.
It was the first time the two leaders had met after 18 years.
At that time, Mahathir said, it had been widely reported that Najib had “stolen billions of ringgit” in public funds, in reference to the 1MDB scandal.
And if Najib’s administration was not toppled they would have gotten away with such treachery and would continue to pilfer.
“The maths was simple. If the opposition parties did not unite and be on the same stage, Najib and his friends would remain in power.”
Mahathir said this was why he was prepared to meet Anwar at that time, describing it as the first step towards the goal of wresting Putrajaya from BN.
Mahathir had sacked Anwar as deputy prime minister in 1998 during the former’s first stint as prime minister. He also accused Anwar of sodomy.
The former Langkawi MP went on to say that he was not affected by claims he was shameless by meeting up with Anwar.
“What’s important is that we were able to prevent those who sullied the country’s name from carrying on. Najib’s fall shows we did something right.”
Mahathir’s remarks today come just two days after the Pejuang chairman said there is a possibility his party could work with Perikatan Nasional in GE15.