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DR Mahathir Mohamad’s expression of remorse for Anwar Ibrahim is acknowledgement of the opposition’s gathering strength and power in Malaysia today, says the South China Morning Post.

The former prime minister’s show of contrition, it said, was no mere effort to ingratiate himself with the opposition, but recognition of the force they have become as the nation grows “nauseated by the excesses of the prime minister and his inner circle”.

In an interview with The Guardian yesterday, Dr Mahathir confessed to having erred in sacking his deputy prime minister and not allowing him to succeed him as PM.

Dr Mahathir also said a new government formed by the opposition would petition the king for a full pardon for the former PRK leader, who is serving time for sodomy, so that he could be the prime minister.

No one saw that coming, SCMP said of Dr Mahathir’s apology, in an op-ed yesterday.

Yet the apology could be a “tactical” manoeuvre, it said, to clear the way for his party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia to work closely with the national opposition front that had hitherto been made up of PRK, DAP and Amanah.

The former prime minister knows that the task to remove Najib from power is almost impossible, and that to do so requires the forging of strategic electoral pacts with old enemies, said the report.

“Anwar is one of them, if not the key one.”

At 91, time is also not his side, SCMP said, and his newly fledged party does not have the resources of the ruling party, Umno.

Dr Mahathir “chose to forego his pride so that the opposition machinery would inch forward again in time for a snap election in October or by the middle of next year,” said the report.

And finally, by owning up to his shortcomings, Dr Mahathir has “humanised himself and Anwar as a genteel but formidable pair”. – July 7, 2017.


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