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PETALING JAYA, Oct 2 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he did not tender an apology to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over their 1998 falling out, in response to past reports of the latter claiming to have received one from the prime minister.
Speaking to UK state broadcaster BBC today, Dr Mahathir suggested that Anwar’s remarks from a June interview were based on the PKR president-elect’s interpretation of their conversations.
“I did not tell him that. That is his opinion.
“Other people put words into my mouth because they wanted me to apologise but I never made any formal apologies to him,” he told HARDtalk programme host Zeinab Badawi.
Asked if he felt remorse for what Anwar went through after he was sacked as the deputy prime minister in 1998, Dr Mahathir said he regretted that Anwar had been imprisoned in the episode.
However, he stressed that his former deputy was sentenced by a court of law, which he said meant he should not be blamed.
“Well I feel sorry for people who have done something and been sentenced to jail by the court,” he said.
On Anwar’s reported concern about him recruiting leaders from past administrations such as Tun Daim Zainuddin and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Dr Mahathir pointed out that Anwar was their contemporary.
“So, if I cannot bring back people who have served me, then I think I will have to rely on people with no experience and these people who join me they have the same opinion about Najib’s government so they want to join together form a coalition and contest against Najib,” he said in reference to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Dr Mahathir then reiterated his plan to relinquish the post in two years’ time.
Anwar is his anointed successor under Pakatan Harapan’s agreed transition plan.
“If that is what the nation wants then I will stop, but I have made a promise and I will stick by my promise.
“I will try and I think my last stint as prime minister did not result in people condemning me for not developing the country, they even called the country an Asian tiger during my last stint, now I’ve been asked to do something; I will try,” he said.