Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he was barred from visiting jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in hospital on Wednesday (Jan 10) afternoon, with hospital officials telling the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman that they had received instructions not to allow him in.
Mahathir said the actions were that of the Prime Minister Najib Razak, whom he called a dictator.
“He is in fact a dictator, from his actions, not his words. I was said to be a dictator, say anything you like but I never did things like this (denied anyone from visiting),” said Dr Mahathir.
“I am sad because our country is a democratic country, and this kind of thing has never happened during my time. Even when I was told that I was a dictator, never had I barred anyone,” he added.
“Of course, Anwar has a long history of confrontation with me and it’s not easy for him to accept the consensus to approve me as the next prime minister should PH win in the coming general election. It is a big thing,” said Mahathir.
Anwar’s daughter and PKR vice president Nurul Izzah said the government was not being consistent.
“Certain individuals like Cabinet Minister Nazri Aziz were allowed in. There is no consistency,” she said.
Some 30 Prisons Department personnel led by the Sungai Buloh prison director Abdul Kadir Rais were stationed outside Anwar’s ward, barring entry to visitors, said news agencies.
Amid the high-noon drama at the hospital, yet another high-profile PKR member, PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s years of experience in government makes him more eligible to be a senior minister.
Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad is better as a senior minister instead of prime minister because of his years of experience in government, PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said, adding that he should not be PM again.
“He has a track record as a statesman and he deserves to be a senior minister and not the prime minister. I think on principle, this makes him more eligible to be a senior minister. It’s not because of Reformasi,” she said.