GOMBAK - Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali has said that a tweet he sent out recently was directed at himself, and not aimed at MP Nurul Izzah Anwar as widely held by the public.
"Who am I to be giving advice (to Nurul Izzah)?" Datuk Seri Azmin said on Friday (March 29) when asked by reporters about the tweet. "No...I was giving myself advice".
Ms Nurul Izzah, had told The Straits Times in an interview that while she had learnt much in the past year, "my heart's been broken as well, somewhat".
Asked to elaborate on this, she said it had not been easy working with "a former dictator who wreaked so much damage, not just on our lives but the system", in a reference to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
The three-term MP, 38, also said she is serving her last term as lawmaker.
Her comments drew widespread criticism within the ruling Pakatan Harapan alliance.
Mr Azmin sent out a tweet on March 24 - the day the interview was published in The Sunday Times - that was seen as attacking Ms Nurul Izzah.
Mr Azmin posted on Twitter: "This country needs doers who are prepared to tough it out all the way, not cry babies. Whatever it takes, we must make it work - if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen."
Two days after the tweet, Ms Izzah on March 26 defended her remarks against Tun Mahathir, saying it is important to make her stance clear.
She added that she will continue to speak her mind.
"I'm always an optimist. But sometimes, I think we have to make our stance very clear. I did not mean any harm certainly. Insyallah (God willing), I will continue to speak in favour of what is right and what is important," she told reporters in the lobby of the Malaysian parliament.
She said her dismissal of Dr Mahathir as a dictator was a repetition of what she had said many years ago, even before the general election in May last year.
"I've said it before the elections, I have said it during Bersih 2.0's demonstrations. I don't understand why saying it at a different (platform), but with the same message, is problematic," she said.
Asked by reporters to comment over her plans to quit as an MP, Ms Nurul Izzah merely said "let's cross the bridge when we come to it".