GOMBAK (Selangor) • 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 last Friday, when asked by reporters about the tweet. "No... I was giving myself advice."
Ms Izzah, 38, had told The Sunday Times in an interview that while she had learnt much in the past year, "my heart's been broken as well, somewhat".
When asked to elaborate, she said it had not been easy working with "a former dictator who wreaked so much damage, not just on our lives but (also) the system", in a reference to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Ms Izzah, a three-term MP and the daughter of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, a leader of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance, also said that she is serving her last term as a lawmaker.
Her comments about Tun Dr Mahathir drew widespread criticism within PH.
Mr Azmin sent out the tweet last Sunday - the day the interview was published - and it was seen as an attack on Ms Izzah.
The minister's post on Twitter read: "This country needs doers who are prepared to tough it out all the way, not crybabies. 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 defended her remarks against Dr Mahathir, saying it was 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.
"Inshallah (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 description 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 on a different (platform), but with the same message, is problematic," she said.
When asked by reporters to comment on her plans to quit as an MP, Ms Izzah merely said: "Let's cross the bridge when we come to it."