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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