Anwar: Working with Dr Mahathir again depends on Pakatan consensus, any future cooperation must be reform driven

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks during the launch of ‘100 Esei Seni & Sastera Era Reformasi 2008-2011’ in Shah Alam December 29, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks during the launch of ‘100 Esei Seni & Sastera Era Reformasi 2008-2011’ in Shah Alam December 29, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim stated that a consensus within the coalition will decide whether it will ever work with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad again, following calls by several Opposition lawmakers for a grand coalition to be formed.

The Port Dickson MP said the coalition is open to working with any political parties, provided they adhere to the reform agenda and take a firm stance against corruption.

“That I leave it to PH to discuss, anyone can be invited to [cooperate] but they must adhere to the principles of not championing personal agendas or destructive [behaviour] of old,’’ he said to reporters when met during the launch of the book 100 Essays and Literature of The Reform Era 2008 –2011 at the Institute Darul Ehsan today.

When asked by reporters whether he would submit to the supposed demands by Dr Mahathir to make the latter PH’s choice for prime minister again, Anwar simply said the matter was “irrelevant” and again stressed the need for political leaders to champion the reform agenda.

“The question is irrelevant. I am focused on the issue, anyone who claims to have an interest in the leadership, doesn't matter whoever from whichever party, must commit to undertake reform, good governance, combat corruption and not protect your family and your cronies, and enrich them in the name of change or people’s mandate.

“You must be clear in your agenda to combat excesses, including political corruption, and commit to champion and help the plight of the rural poor, and the marginalised communities,’’ said Anwar.

Anwar was a former chief critic of Dr Mahathir and had previously called the latter out for his alleged practice of cronyism and excesses.

On Sunday, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said his party will oppose a prime minister installed with the support of corrupt Umno leaders, a statement seemingly aimed at Anwar who is vying for the post.

During his speech at the book launch today, Anwar briefly stated that the formation of a grand political coalition would be moot if its members do not have the will to combat corruption and fight for the plight of the common man.

He stated that while PH was in power for 22 months, it did not do enough to advance the reform agenda and had even tolerated perceived corruption within its ranks, some of whom have now defected from PH to form the Perikatan Nasional administration.

Anwar was likely referring to the Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and 10 other former PKR lawmakers who left the party in February.

On Saturday, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu had called for the Opposition to form a grand coalition in the run up to the 15th general election.

He added that his party is willing to play the role of peacemaker to bring all Opposition parties together.

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