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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dr M threatened me before sacking, says Anwar

PETALING JAYA, May 29 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed gave him an ultimatum in 1998, a day before his sacking as the deputy prime minister.

According to Anwar, the former prime minister told him to voluntarily step down as DPM and in return, he would receive some form of monetary compensation, but if he did not comply with this, charges would be framed against him (Anwar).

“Mahathir (picture) told me...you have wife, a family, its better if you resign voluntarily, if not charges will be brought against you,” Anwar said today during a dialogue with young professionals.

The PKR defacto leader’s remarks were in response to a question from the audience asking him if it was true that such a situation had occured, and was highlighted by writer Ziauddin Sardar in a book.

“Yes, it is true because I told him (Ziauddin) that...I also went against Dr Mahathir, and was wrongfully imprisoned and subsequently beaten half to death.

“It was the only time I spoke harshly to him (Dr Mahathir),” said Anwar.

He said that he bore no ill-will and grudges against his former mentor, and forgave him for what happened.

Anwar was charged with sodomy and corruption in 1998 after he was sacked from the Cabinet and was later convicted and jailed for both offences.

He was freed in September 2004 and later resurrected his political career by winning back his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in a by-election in 2008, which had been held in the interim by his wife.

He led the loose pact of PKR, the DAP and PAS to a historic sweep of five states and 82 parliamentary seats in Election 2008.

But the 63-year-old PKR de facto leader is currently facing sodomy charges for the second time in his life.

He has denied the charge, describing it as “evil, frivolous lies by those in power” when the charge was read out to him. He is charged under section 377B of the Penal Code and can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years’ jail and whipping upon conviction.

The trial began 18 months after Anwar was charged in court in August 2008.

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