Dr Mahathir, Anwar issue joint statement against Malaysia's controversial new security law

Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (right) and Anwar Ibrahim met at a high court in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 5, 2016.
Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (right) and Anwar Ibrahim met at a high court in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 5, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his protege-turned-arch rival Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim have jointly issued a statement over their stand to oppose the government's controversial National Security Council (NSC) Act, saying they had done so to protect the rights and freedom of the people.

The two said the Act had set aside the power and role of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Conference of Rulers in relation to the issue of security and freedom of the people.

They said the Act had also threatened the democracy system in the country.

Among others, they said the Act had denied the rights of those who were killed to determine their cause of death.

"There is a bigger possibility that it could cause wrongdoing," the duo said in the joint statement distributed to the media by former Batu Kawan Umno division deputy head Khairuddin Abu Hassan in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (Sept 19).

Datuk Seri Khairuddin also read out the statement to the media after attending Anwar's defamation case against Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin at the court complex here.

When asked by the media later, the jailed opposition leader confirmed the statement.

"It is an initiative. It is good enough. Tun Dr Mahathir is experienced," said Anwar.

The duo's joint statement came about two weeks after the two shook hands publicly earlier this month since a bitter falling out 18 years ago, in a move that signalled an end to their feud and an acknowledgement of their common desire to take down Prime Minister Najib Razak over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial scandal.

When asked if he had forgiven Dr Mahathir for his past actions, Anwar said: "I have forgiven a lot of people."

To a question that his daughter Nurul Nuha had demanded that Dr Mahathir publicly apologise to him and admit his past transgressions, Anwar said: "This came too sudden. I have no opportunity to speak to my children. I have explained to my children. We have suffered immensely," he added.

Anwar, however, said his concern was the current situation.

"People in the present should stop this harassment and injustice," he claimed, adding that he was appreciative and thankful to Dr Mahathir for his support in opposing the Act.