Mahathir says that he was wrong to sack Anwar

Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he should not have taken the action against Anwar Ibrahim in 1998

Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he should not have taken the action against Anwar Ibrahim in 1998

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said if he could turn back time and choose again, he would not have sacked his then deputy Anwar Ibrahim. "I think I shouldn't have taken action against Anwar", Mahathir was quoted as saying. The following year, he was sentenced to six years in jail for corruption, and in 2000, he was given a nine-year sentence for sodomy, which was to be served consecutively to his earlier jail term. However, in 2004, he appealed to the Federal Court which overturned his sodomy conviction.

"I realise now that perhaps I should have put aside justice, and not do that (make decisions that make people dislike me) for political reasons".

"I was angry with the police".

The black-eye Anwar received in lock-up led many Malays to take up the reformasi call against Mahathir.

In the Sin Chew interview, Mahathir admitted that the incident involving Anwar caused him to lose votes in the 1999 election, but added that in that situation, he had "no choice but to make decisions that caused people to hate him".

Recalling a Supreme Council meeting that was held till 4am, Mahathir said: "They unanimously expressed that they did not want Anwar to be deputy president and they also didn't want him to remain in the party".

Asked if the crisis faced by PPBM was an obstacle to the opposition pack in GE14, Dr Mahathir said: "Of course, if they (RoS) don't approve, it would be hard but we will campaign as Pakatan Harapan". I asked them why they didn't give him a trial.

"They not only didn't want him to be deputy president, they also didn't want him in the party. But I insisted that he be given a trial".

"When it was finally revealed that the inspector-general of police (IGP) had punched Anwar, Mahathir did not offer any apology or retract his allegation that Anwar had punched his own face", he said.

"It was not my decision", he said.