PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former Malaysian premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has denied supporting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to become the next prime minister, as reported in a recent article by the British daily The Guardian.
The chairman of the opposition Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia said Anwar could not become the next prime minister as he needed to be released from jail first.
"If the Opposition wins (the next general election), the new seventh prime minister will have to work to release him. Until then, he cannot be PM," he told reporters after a book launch on Friday (July 7).
However, he was less certain when queried about Pakatan Harapan's plan to appoint an interim prime minister while awaiting Anwar's release.
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"Well, there has to be an interim prime minister. There is no way he can become PM from jail because he cannot compete (in elections). We did not discuss who will be interim PM," he said.
Dr Mahathir was in London recently and was interviewed by The Guardian, where he was quoted as saying that he would not object to Anwar returning to politics and becoming prime minister if the latter is given a royal pardon.
He also reportedly admitted that Anwar, who served as his deputy prime minister from 1993 to 1998, had been unfairly treated.
The article published on Thursday also said Dr Mahathir had regretted not allowing Anwar to succeed him, but the former prime minister denied saying this.
"No, I didn't say anything about that. What is past is past. If you talk about the past, then we will have a lot of problems," he added.