Last edited: November 06, 2004

Mahathir Not Worried About Possible Anwar Comeback

Asia Pulse, October 6, 2004

MANILA (PNA)—Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad said he was not worried that his critic, Anwar Ibrahim who once served as his deputy prime minister, could make a political come back after spending years in jail.

Addressing an open forum during the Philippine Business Conference and Exposition at the Manila Hotel, Mahathir sounded confident that Anwar could no longer muster enough support from Malaysian voters to secure a seat in government.

“And he has actually no support like he did before. He will have support from outside the country. But outside the country, they are not our constituents. They don,t vote. So we are not worried about him,” Mahathir said, referring to Anwar.

Anwar was acquitted on sodomy charges after the court decided that the prosecution’s key witness was unreliable, having changed three times, the date the crime was allegedly committed.

Azizan Abubakar earlier alleged he had been sodomised by Anwar in May 1994 and later changed the date to May 1992. However, when it was found out that the condominium where the alleged crime was committed, did not exist back in 1992, the charge was again amended.

Mahathir said the ground for Anwar’s acquittal was “flimsy,” predicting that the judgment of the court would not convince the Malaysian electorate that he was worthy of their support.

“The judge agreed that he did commit the act, but the police said it was on the wrong day. So on that basis, he was acquitted,” the former Prime Minister stated.

He likened Anwar’s case to a murder where the police had knowledge that the perpetrator committed the crime, only they declared a wrong date when it was committed.

But he was quick to add that “we don,t question the judges. If the judges feel that he should be acquitted, then we accept the judgment, although we may disagree on the grounds of judgment.”

He explained that under Malaysian law, a convict cannot participate in politics until after five years from the end of his sentence.

Anwar was jailed for six years for corruption in 1999. Only five years after the end of his sentence could Anwar be eligible to run for the polls.

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