Anwar Ibrahim's move to appoint Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as his deputy shows that Malaysia does not hold to the rule of law, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today in his first public comments on Zahid's return to the Cabinet.
Speaking at an event in Kuala Lumpur, he said the prime minister's decision to appoint the Umno president to the second highest position in the country was perplexing as Zahid is still facing 47 charges in court.
"If we want to clean up the country, we cannot choose people who are considered to have committed crimes," he told reporters.
"Yes, he has not yet been found guilty, but if someone is facing even one case in court, it is enough to show that he is not qualified to be a leader."
Asked about his views on Anwar's government, Mahathir said it was too early to comment.
"I want to see what happens," he added.
On the future of Pejuang, which was badly trounced at the Nov 19 general election, Mahathir said the party would continue with its struggle.
"Yes, we experienced a heavy defeat, but we hold fast to our principles," he said.
"We are fighting to clean up the country, and we will continue this struggle even if everyone rejects it."