Anwar: Nurul Izzah’s criticism not for Dr M alone

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is pictured in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 26, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is pictured in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 26, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Nurul Izzah Anwar’s critical remarks from an interview were about the larger Pakatan Harapan (PH) and not purely on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Speaking to the media since the controversy erupted over his daughter’s comments to a Singaporean news outlet published Sunday, the PKR president also asserted that she gave the interview some time ago but without specifying when.

However, he acknowledged concerns about her negative comments.

“But I think it (the statement) was not wholly aimed at Tun Mahathir, but also directed towards other (leaders) who voiced their opinions and attacked each other,” he said without elaboration.

Anwar then stressed that he and his family were firmly behind the Dr Mahathir’s leadership and will allow the latter the space he needs to carry out his intended initiatives.

PH was also more open to criticism from within its ranks, he said in response to those who compared the open dissent within the coalition to the seemingly unified front of Barisan Nasional (BN).

“We give space, as this does not mean we cannot have differences in opinions, or offer criticism,” he told reporters in Parliament today.

On his daughter’s use of “former dictator” to describe Dr Mahathir, Anwar again said the interview was conducted “some time ago”.

He also said the media was giving disproportionate attention to the phrase.

“The statements were made during an interview some time ago, and was blown up by the Singapore Strait Times (sic), so why should we quarrel over it?” he said.

Anwar then sought to rally PH’s focus back to reviving the economy, which he said was critical to ensure that Malaysians could enjoy better livelihoods.

PKR was also not in conflict over Nurul Izzah’s published remarks and plan to leave politics, he said in apparent reference to a veiled jibe his deputy, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, is thought to have aimed at her.

“I hope my explanation will kill the notions (of in fighting),” he said.

Yesterday, the PM’s political secretary, Abu Bakar Yahya, rebutted Nurul Izzah’s remarks by saying she was immature, irrational, and did not understand Dr Mahathir’s position.

Dr Mahathir also responded in kind yesterday, saying he was just as disappointed in those who said they were dissatisfied with him.

Anwar intends to succeed Dr Mahathir as prime minister once the latter chooses to step down.