Sunday, April 13, 2008

Anwar goes toe-to-toe with Mahathir

(The Malaysian Insider) KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — Anwar Ibrahim today unleashed his strongest attack against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yet, accusing him of corruption and theft of government funds. In the run-up to the elections and since, the former prime minister has only sparred with his former mentor, discounting him as a relic of the past.

But Dr Mahathir's constant attacks on his character and description of him as a friend of the Jews seem to have struck a raw nerve. The former PM used that same approach to demonise Anwar after he was sacked, painting him as a lackey of the West and a friend of the Jews. Within the Malay community, the Jews and Israel are viewed with disdain because of the long-standing Palestinian conflict.

Anwar noted that it was the Mahathir administration which paid US$1.2 million to a Jew, Jack Abramoff, to set up a meeting between Dr Mahathir and US President George W. Bush in 2001.

Instead of being side tracked, he suggested that Mahathir apologise for the many “atrocities" he had committed.

He also has to explain on how he destroyed the judiciary, how he controlled the media, how he put hundreds of people under ISA.

"He should also explain his involvement in various corrupt practices, serious mismanagement, stealing government funds through the destruction of many government-controlled companies. I think it is better for him to deal with these issues," said Anwar at a press conference after officiating at a seminar for PKR elected representatives.

The defacto leader of Pakatan Rakyat said Dr Mahathir was “very scared about this new phenomenon of people speaking up and wanting to see change."

Anwar said it was clear why Dr Mahathir was agitating for change – he wanted to ensure that his nominees take over power and protect his and his family's interest.

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