Mahathir meets Anwar at court to discuss opposition coalition

Former Malaysian premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during a press conference at Petaling Jaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Feb 7, 2017.
Former Malaysian premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during a press conference at Petaling Jaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Feb 7, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

KUALA LUMPUR - Former Malaysian premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad met with jailed former Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in court on Friday (Feb 10), after which Dr Mahathir said he is looking to solidify their opposition coalition, The Star reported.

Dr Mahathir, who is now chairman of the opposition Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) party, came to the High Court to meet Datuk Seri Anwar for about 45 minutes during a break in the trial of Datuk Seri Anwar's defamation suit.

According to the Malaysiakini website, the court was hearing Anwar's defamation suit against Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Anwar is serving a five-year sentence for a separate sodomy conviction he has said is politically motivated. 

Friday's meeting between Dr Mahathir and Anwar was their second during a court case. Dr Mahathir and Anwar and his protege-turned-archrival Anwar had also met at another court appearance in September last year.

Dr Mahathir said that while the PPBM was still holding talks on a pact with the Islamist Parti Islam SeMalaysia party, it remained committed to solidifying the opposition alliance ahead of the country's looming elections.

"We are still talking with PAS but in meantime we want to solidify our coalition. Bersatu (PPBM) will join the coalition (Pakatan Harapan coalition)," said Dr Mahathir.

Dr Mahathir's PPBM in December signed a pact to work with the Pakatan Harapan in the nationwide polls.

"We are also interested with the political problems facing the country and we agree on many issues," Dr Mahathir added.

Earlier, PPBM president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also turned up to the civil hearing for a similar meeting with Dr Anwar.

Dr Mahathir came to the court at 11.55am, accompanied by his supporters and sat in the first row of the public gallery briefly before his meeting with Anwar.

Dr Mahathir waved to Anwar who acknowledged him while hearing his witness, lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon, giving evidence.

Anwar had served as Dr Mahathir's deputy prime minister before being sacked in 1998. He was later charged with sodomy.

In September, Dr Mahathir turned up at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to attend the hearing of an application filed by Anwar to challenge the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016.