Can former foes Mahathir and Anwar pull together for a new Malaysia?

The recent historic general election has thrust Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right) and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim into an uneasy political partnership.
The recent historic general election has thrust Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right) and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim into an uneasy political partnership. PHOTOS: AFP, EPA-EFE
Mr Anwar Ibrahim at a celebration following his release from prison in Petaling Jaya late on Wednesday. He has gone to great lengths in recent days to lend his support to the new Mahathir-led government, insisting that he is in no hurry to take over.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad shows the Pakatan Harapan certificate of registration during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. The Pakatan Harapan coalition comprises Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Democratic Action Party and Parti Amanah Negara. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Mr Anwar Ibrahim at a celebration following his release from prison in Petaling Jaya late on Wednesday. He has gone to great lengths in recent days to lend his support to the new Mahathir-led government, insisting that he is in no hurry to take over.
Mr Anwar Ibrahim at a celebration following his release from prison in Petaling Jaya late on Wednesday. He has gone to great lengths in recent days to lend his support to the new Mahathir-led government, insisting that he is in no hurry to take over.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Former prime minister Najib Razak apparently sleeping on a couch during a police raid on his home in Kuala Lumpur. The May 9 general election saw the stunning ejection of Mr Najib’s Barisan Nasional after six decades in power.
Former prime minister Najib Razak apparently sleeping on a couch during a police raid on his home in Kuala Lumpur. The May 9 general election saw the stunning ejection of Mr Najib’s Barisan Nasional after six decades in power.
Mr Daim
Mr DaimPHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Azmin Ali
Azmin AliPHOTO: SINAR HARIAN

Pragmatism prevails for now but observers warn that historical baggage could undermine mutual respect between Mahathir and Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR • For the past two decades, Malaysia's political drama has revolved around a bitter battle between two towering personalities.

The recent historic general election, however, has thrust Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim into an uneasy political partnership, leading many Malaysians to wonder whether the two men can forge a working relationship to rebuild a troubled economy and bring together a divided nation.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 20, 2018, with the headline 'Can former foes pull togetherfor a new Malaysia?'. Print Edition | Subscribe