PKR deputy president Azmin Ali has hailed the reunion between two arch-nemesis Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim as a start in preparation for the 14th general election.
“I am confident this is a start for uniting the people and strengthening progressive political parties as a preparation for the 14th general election,” he said.
Azmin was referring to Mahathir’s surprise appearance at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday to show support for jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s application to challenge the controversial National Security Act 2016, which grants the council headed by the prime minister emergency-like powers.
It was the first meeting between the two men in 18 years after then prime minister Mahathir sacked his deputy Anwar and had him jailed for sodomy and abuse of power, charges which the latter had claimed were politically motivated.
Anwar was freed in 2004 after the sodomy charge was overturned but he was put behind bars again in 2015 under Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak based on a similar charge.
“What the world witnesses at that moment was not just two persons shaking hands but two statesmen who were willing to set aside past differences and bitterness for the future of the country and the people of Malaysia.
“The meeting proved that both men have big hearts at a time when the country is faced with a leadership crisis and needs direction to save the country and to work on economic recovery,” said Azmin.
He echoed Anwar’s believe that Mahathir’s willingness to see the former opposition leader in court yesterday was an indication that the former premier has now accepted the reform agenda.
Azmin said Mahathir and Anwar met privately for some 30 minutes and he as well as PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail were also present.