Anwar warns party against Mahathir in second letter

PETALING JAYA • Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has sent a second letter from prison, cautioning party leaders against being too close to his nemesis former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is now working with opposition chiefs and civil society groups to topple Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The latest missive, described as a "personal letter", was specifically addressed to a vice-president of his Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Mr Shamsul Iskandar. Sources said the letter advised Mr Shamsul to exercise restraint and wisdom when dealing with Tun Dr Mahathir.

Dr Mahathir quit Umno in February in a fallout over the financial scandal engulfing state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad and Datuk Seri Najib. The former statesman, 90, is now the unofficial head of the Save Malaysia campaign that has brought together much of the opposition except for Anwar's family and leaders of Parti Islam SeMalaysia.

Anwar has been in jail since February last year after being found guilty of sodomy. Last month, he wrote a private letter to PKR leaders warning them to be wary of diving headlong into Dr Mahathir's campaign. The letter was later made public.

It is not known whether similar letters have been sent to other top PKR figures but it is likely that Mr Shamsul was singled out because he had represented the party at a few closed-door meetings with the former premier.

Mr Shamsul is a trusted ally of PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, who supports the idea of working with Dr Mahathir.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2016, with the headline 'Anwar warns party against Mahathir in second letter'. Print Edition | Subscribe