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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jealous Dr M rakes up bitter memories: Anwar only wants to be PM

Jealous Dr M rakes up bitter memories: Anwar only wants to be PM
Former premier Mahathir Mohamad, often accused of being jealous of his former deputy, said he was not surprised by Anwar Ibrahim's recent statement on "Israeli security", which Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno party has been quick to allege betrayed the Muslim world.
“He will say anything to take over Putrajaya,” Mahathir, a former Umno president, told reporters on Monday.
When the disciple exceeded the master
In the 1980s, Mahathir had carefully wooed Anwar, then a fiery student leader, over to Umno where the latter rose through the ranks to become the deputy prime minister and Finance minister.
However, the two men fell out with each other mainly over economic issues, where Mahathir was weak and lost billions through unsuccessful and hair-brained schemes such as trying to corner the global tin market, speculating in foreign currencies against the world's best dealers, establishing a national car company, trying to engineer a 'super breed' of Malay tycoons and many other peculiar ideas and policies.
Anwar made his name,especially in the international circuit, on the back of an anti-corruption and reform platform. He was regarded as one of Asia's best Finance ministers and hailed as a breath of fresh air compared to the dictatorial and opaque Mahathir.
This created enormous tension between the two men, culminating in the 1998 sodomy trial against Anwar. Despite trumped-up charges, Mahathir forced a guilty verdict through and it was only after he retired that the federal court dared to acquit Anwar.
Even now, Umno members do not deny Anwar was much more popular than Mahathir, who feared that Anwar would challenge him for the Umno presidency. Anwar's sacking and jailing in 1998 split Umno down the line and the party remains weakened because of this incident.
Still bitter
Meanwhile, Mahathir's hate for Anwar has not abated, and he has found all ways and means to pressure his successors in Umno to put Anwar behind bars.
Recently, when the High Court acquitted Anwar of a second round of fabricated sodomy charges, Mahathir urged the government to appeal, which Prime Minister Najib Razak - viewed as a weak leader and unable to stand up to Mahathir - agreed to.
“He (Anwar) has sympathy for the Jews and has many friends in the United States' Congress and Senate that are of Jewish origin. He met Paul for three hours and this shows that he has close ties with Israel," said Mahathir.
The 86-year-old Mahathir was referring to Paul Wolfowitz, the former World Bank president and US diplomat, whom he claimed Anwar had met soon after he was acquitted in 2004.
Anwar reportedly said in the Wall Street Journal last week that he had supported “all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel”. His comments were pounced on by the ruling Umno-BN government, eager to whittle down Anwar's popularity with the Malays ahead of general elections widely expected to be held this year.
Anwar has warned Umno leaders not to twist his words, pointing out that his remarks were in line with Malaysia's policy on Israel.
“Suddenly, after much criticism, he now claims that he supports the two-state solution. He never mentioned anything about the safety of the Palestinian people who were the real victims,” said an obviously still-bitter Mahathir.
Malaysia Chronicle

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