Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he is not surprised by the recent revelation of a phone conversation between the presidents of PKR and Umno, adding that both politicians have been talking.
He said he was also aware that Anwar Ibrahim had been speaking to “everybody, including Najib (Razak)”.
“That is his way of operating. He talks to everybody, but what he says (are) the results of his talks is not quite the same as what actually happened,” he told MalaysiaNow during an interview at his office in Putrajaya.
In the four-minute clip which surfaced last week, Anwar is heard congratulating and giving instructions to Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in the aftermath of the Umno general assembly which accepted the latter’s proposal to cut ties with the Perikatan Nasional government.
Zahid in return thanked Anwar for his moral support.
MalaysiaNow has been able to verify that the clip is authentic, and that the voices are those of Anwar and Zahid.
While both leaders said they would instruct their officers to lodge police reports, Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said they would be called up as part of an investigation into the clip.
Zahid has denied it is him in the recording, while Anwar said there was nothing wrong even if the conversation had taken place.
The hour-long interview with Mahathir today saw the former leader criticising other top leaders in addition to Anwar and Zahid, although his strongest remarks were reserved for Najib Razak, whose involvement in the 1MDB scandal triggered Mahathir’s exit from Umno in 2016.
When asked why he had continued to accept Anwar as a nominee for prime minister despite knowing his political ways, Mahathir said he was being pragmatic about the chances for Bersatu, the party he formed to oppose Umno.
“I had to work with the opposition parties. All those opposition parties were against me. But I decided that between them and Najib, the greater danger came from Najib. And so for practical purposes I had to work with the opposition, and that included Anwar. Anwar was accepted as the leader of the opposition.
“If you didn’t accept him, the opposition would not work with you. And I agreed that after I stepped down, Anwar should be the prime minister.”
Mahathir said the coming together of Anwar, Zahid and Najib would still not put the PKR leader in the seat of power, as there was no certainty that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition would back him.
“No. I don’t think Anwar will get the support. Because Anwar depends on 92 votes coming from PH. That is his strength. But getting the 92 votes is not certain because MPs from DAP will not support him, and those from PKR too, there are many dead against him.
“So he may not get 92. He may get 80, plus whatever Najib can provide will not be enough to form the government,” said Mahathir.