‘Nothing personal’, says Anwar of apparent differences with Dr Mahathir

(MMO) – PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today he does not have “anything personal” against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the Opposition bloc prepares for tomorrow’s Dewan Rakyat sitting that is anticipated to be heated.

Malaysiakini quoted Anwar as saying so when asked if the disagreement between the two men was a hurdle to a united Opposition and whether they could set their differences aside and reconcile.

“As far as I am concerned, I look at it (in terms of) issues of policies and the reform agenda.

“Anyone, including Mahathir, if we can agree, then we will proceed and there is no problem. Nothing personal here,” Anwar was quoted as saying.

Anwar had earlier attended a closed-door Pakatan Harapan (PH) pre-Parliament meeting at a hotel in Shah Alam today.

As for the meeting itself, Anwar said it was a PH affair and an informal meeting had already been held with Dr Mahathir’s group after the latter were noticeably absent from the gathering.

“There was a meeting representing us, in an informal session with Parti Warisan Sabah and Dr Mahathir’s faction of Bersatu and these matters were discussed, that they will jointly support the Opposition’s position.

“But this is considered purely a Harapan event and they are not in Harapan, but then there is a cordial working relationship,” he added in the report.

Dr Mahathir previously declared that he and five other MPs would form an independent Opposition bloc with Parti Warisan Sabah in and outside Parliament. They also said that they are against any attempt to replace the Dewan Rakyat Speaker.

Anwar also said he was confident that PH, Warisan and Dr Mahathir’s bloc will put up a united front on the issue of the Dewan Rakyat motion to remove Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming.

According to the Dewan Rakyat’s Order Paper, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has submitted a motion for their removal.

The Perikatan Nasional government under Muhyiddin is proposing to replace them with Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun and Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said respectively.

Anwar said despite both blocs having solidly decided to vote against this motion, he appealed to other MPs to join them in retaining the current Speaker and deputy Speaker as well.

“This is a matter of principles and rule of law, this has never happened in Commonwealth history as well as our country’s history before.

“An appointment is only made when there is a vacancy, or a Speaker resigns.

“In our case, the performance of Ariff has been commendable in terms of reforms. There’s absolutely no basis to attempt to change mid-course.

“Therefore, I am appealing to MPs — other than Harapan which is solid and the Opposition which has given the commitment to stand firm — to consider this to protect the sanctity of Parliament and also of national importance to support the existing speaker Ariff and deputy speaker Nga,” he said.