KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has unsheathed her claws against Save Malaysia frontliner Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, revealing at last her reasons for refusing to join the movement seeking to oust the ruling coalition.
The mild-mannered Dr Wan Azizah, who replaced Anwar as opposition leader after her husband was jailed for sodomy last year, previously stated she would not be a part of the non-partisan movement but was coy on why she stayed away.
She opened up to Malay Mail Online yesterday, after Dr Mahathir’s interview with The Australian, where the former prime minister said that Anwar did not have the morals to lead the country.
“I regret Dr Mahathir should choose to continue to express rancour and venom against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. This persists despite Anwar’s magnanimity in forgiving Mahathir’s previous excesses.
“But when he chose to repeat the scurrilous attacks on Anwar’s character using the same institutions he had helped control and wield influence over, and now chooses to attack, I think that is nothing short of being unacceptable,” Dr Wan Azizah said.
Dr Mahathir has in the past repeatedly attacked Anwar’s character and used the latter’s sodomy charges to justify why he could never become prime minister.
In the same interview with the Australian paper, Dr Mahathir also said Anwar — who will be 69 in August — is “too old” to become the country’s next prime minister.
Dr Wan Azizah also sought to explain her position regarding the Save Malaysia group which has been endorsed by other federal opposition lawmakers as well as civil society leaders and even some Barisan Nasional (BN) veterans.
She said the group, led by Dr Mahathir, should not just be about removing the current prime minister, but must also seek to meet the public’s demand for institutional reform.
“First I believe the declaration should be expanded to one that meets people’s demand for institutional reforms and concrete actions to see the end to endemic corruption,” she said, referring to the Citizens’ Declaration mooted by the Save Malaysia movement.
“Secondly Dr Mahathir must understand in any meaningful collaboration with the opposition and civil society, we cannot opt for autocratic methods because we have worked throughout based on consensus; prioritising the welfare of the people particularly affected by the current economic malaise and flawed governance,” she added.
The Permatang Pauh MP said that Dr Mahathir must learn to accept the fact that it was not up to him, but voters to decide on who should lead the country.
“Controlling mindsets only represent the old order,” Dr Wan Azizah said in a veiled reference to Dr Mahathir.
Dr Mahathir, together with politicians from both sides of the divide and civil society, launched the Citizens’ Declaration on March 4 in a movement called Save Malaysia to push for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s resignation.
The former prime minister was allowed on stage during Pakatan Harapan’s protest against the Goods and Service Tax last week and was also seen attending the Bersih 4 rally last year.