Mahathir to sue Malaysia PM Anwar for slander

Mahathir to sue Malaysia PM Anwar for slander
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in a Facebook post that Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim had slandered him for years but he did not take any action.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file, Reuters file

Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad will proceed with legal action against Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim over claims that the elder leader had enriched himself and his family while in power.

This comes as the deadline for Datuk Seri Anwar to apologise to Tun Dr Mahathir for the "slanderous claims" lapsed on Monday (April 17).

Dr Mahathir's lawyer, Rafique Rashid, said a letter from Anwar's lawyer, dated April 17, states that they are ready to answer any allegations in court.

"Based on the reply, Dr Mahathir has instructed our firm to pursue legal action against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim," said Mr Rafique.

In a speech at his Parti Keadilan Rakyat's congress on March 18, Anwar alluded to someone "who had been in power for 22 years and (later) an additional 22 months" using his position to enrich his family and himself.

While Anwar did not mention Dr Mahathir by name, he said the person was also complaining about the Malays losing their dominance only after he was no longer in power.

Days later, Dr Mahathir said it was clear that Anwar was referring to no other former premier but him because "I was in power for 22 years and 22 months".

Dr Mahathir, 97, served as premier twice —?from 1981 to 2003, and from 2018 to 2020 —?and resigned both times. He lost his parliamentary seat of Langkawi in the 2022 General Election.

Early this month, Anwar said he would provide evidence to back the claims he had made against Dr Mahathir.

As a result of Anwar's allegations in March, Dr Mahathir sent a legal letter dated March 27 to him to retract his "slanderous" claims within seven days or face legal action.

He subsequently agreed to an extension until April 17 after a request from Anwar's legal team.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Dr Mahathir said Anwar had slandered him for years but he did not take any action because he felt it was the act of someone who "desperately wanted to become prime minister".

"But now that he is the prime minister, he maintains his accusations. So I have asked him to retract (his statements), failing which I will take legal action," he said.

Dr Mahathir and Anwar used to have a close relationship, with the former calling Anwar his friend and protege.

[[nid:584956]]

He anointed Anwar his successor in 1993, but later, amid disagreements over how to handle the Asian financial crisis in 1998, said that Mr Anwar was unfit to lead "because of his character".

Between his stints as deputy prime minister in the 1990s and as official prime minister-in-waiting in 2018, Anwar spent nearly a decade in jail for sodomy and corruption —?charges that he said were politically motivated.

After decades of enmity, the two buried the hatchet briefly in 2018 to oust the then ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, only to fall out again within two years, ending their 22-month-old Pakatan Harapan government and plunging Malaysia into a period of instability.

The last general election, on Nov 19, left the country in political limbo after no coalition gained enough seats to form a government.

Anwar and rival Muhyiddin Yassin, whose coalitions had the two largest blocs in Parliament but no simple majority needed to form the government, competed to become premier.

The situation was resolved only when Anwar gained the backing of BN —?led by Umno, the party once headed by Dr Mahathir who expelled Anwar in 1998 —?to form a unity government.

ALSO READ:?'I hope he's right': Mahathir warns Malays in Malaysia could lose power and become like Singapore; some Malaysians welcome becoming like Singapore

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news