It was not a silent treatment, Nazri says of meeting with Dr M

(The Star) – The silence between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz during their meeting on Saturday was because the former premier did not want to speak, says Nazri.

The Padang Rengas MP told The Star Online that he did try to speak to Dr Mahathir but noticed that the 92-year old was apparently shocked by his appearance at Lembah Sungai Perak on Saturday.

“You know me, I would accept any invitation. I was waiting at Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) Sultan Azlan Shah from 1.30pm to 4pm.

“He avoided me at MRSM and I came to know that he was in Lembah at the riverside, so I contacted one of his aides, and according to the aide, Tun (Dr Mahathir) agreed to see me.

“That is why I went there,” he said Sunday, responding to Dr Mahathir’s claims that Nazri had been silent during the 30 minutes they had sat next to each other.

He added that upon his arrival, one of Dr Mahathir’s aides tried to prevent Nazri from shaking hands with the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman.

“I went ahead and shook his hands and welcomed him. He merely smiled at me.

“He did not say anything and there was no warmth at all. It was like he did not want me to be around, so I had to respect his wishes,” he said, adding that Dr Mahathir only told him that Pribumi vice-president Datuk Hamidah Osman was interested in contesting in the Padang Rengas constituency.

The Tourism and Culture Minister said that during the course of the 30 minutes, he was waiting for Dr Mahathir to ask him questions.

“He said it at a press conference before, ‘I will ask all the questions and Nazri should answer,’ so I waited for him to ask me, but he just kept quiet and I did not want to encroach his privacy.

“I respected that it was his programme and I adhered to all the rules. Moreover, the person sitting on my other side was asking me a lot of questions, and that was why I was talking to him instead,” he said.

Asked if the meeting was awkward, Nazri quipped, “Not at all”.

“I was very comfortable. But he (Dr Mahathir) was very frail. I have been wanting to see him for a while now, it has been four years since I last saw him.

“But when I saw him yesterday, he looked frail and he was coughing,” said Nazri.

Nazri and Dr Mahathir were scheduled to have held a debate in MRSM Sultan Azlan Shah on March 25, but that has now been postponed to April 7.