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After apology to Anwar, Sanusi schools Amanah on democracy and manners

The Kedah menteri besar responds to his political opponents' interpretation of his speech.

2 minute read
Kedah MB Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor welcoming Anwar Ibrahim during the prime minister's visit to the state recently.
Kedah MB Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor welcoming Anwar Ibrahim during the prime minister's visit to the state recently.

Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has shot back at political opponents who interpreted his recent speech in front of Anwar Ibrahim as a sign that he is now supportive of the prime minister's leadership.

The PAS leader said the apology to Anwar for his remarks did not mean he had changed his political position.

"If it's true, as they say, that I now agree with Anwar's direction, how is it that I have not left PAS?" asked the popular politician who has been a target of attacks from Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders.

"Is it the case that an apology erases all differences?"

Sanusi had offered his apology to Anwar while speaking at a Hari Raya gathering in Jitra, Kedah, organised by the federal government and attended by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and other ministers.

"As humans, we are prone to committing mistakes.

"It is hoped that this gathering in the holy month of Shawal will be a reason for us to begin a new chapter and a clean slate, with sincerity and responsibility," he told MalaysiaNow.

The speech received mixed reactions, including from Amanah, the PAS splinter party led by Mohamad Sabu.

"After three years (as menteri besar), maybe now he has realised that as a state government, they still need to rely on allocations from the federal government," Kedah Amanah chairman Asmirul Anuar Aris told pro-Pakatan Harapan (PH) portal Malaysiakini.

"The public apology by Sanusi is more or less due to his past extremely improper and unprofessional speeches and behaviour on stage that did not benefit them," he said.

Meanwhile, Amanah secretary-general Faiz Fadzil claimed that Sanusi had acknowledged Anwar's leadership.

"Whether the apology remains or not, it goes to show that the agenda and direction of the Anwar-led government are on the right track," he said.

But Sanusi said he did not have to agree with Anwar in order to make an apology.

He said in a democracy, people were free to have differences of opinions and engage in arguments in promoting their political stands.

In the course of this, Sanusi said, they were bound to utter hurtful remarks towards others.

"So to apologise is the best way to clear the murky relationship between the state and federal governments."

Sanusi, who is also the Perikatan Nasional (PN) election director, said confusion about his position as a politician and a government official was to blame for misunderstandings of his remarks, which he said must be viewed in the correct context.  

"Many things are seen in my capacity as MB, when in fact I am speaking in my capacity as the election chief. 

"As MB, I am careful about ethics and morals in my role as head of government. Whatever I strive for in my capacity as MB, regardless of the tone, is done in the best interests of the state and the people of Kedah," he said.

Asked to comment on the Amanah leader's interpretation of his speech, Sanusi said:

"He should be mindful even if he wants to spin it.

"In politics, we are always different and will always remain so. I am from PAS in PN, Anwar is from PKR in PH."