Mahathir not allowed to visit Anwar by prison authorities

Erika Holt
January 13, 2018

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad applauds after he was elected as the opposition's prime ministerial candidate during the four-party coalition Pact of Hope (Pakatan Harapan) convention in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur on January 7, 2018.

"There has to be a special application, and we also need to see if the request is necessary".

Questions were raised by the opposition after Dr Mahathir was stopped at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital from visiting Anwar, who now co-lead the opposition alliance with Dr Mahathir.

Hours after Mr Zulkifli's remarks, Dr Mahathir said Putrajaya has no cause for alarm as he only wanted to thank Anwar for agreeing to his nomination as PH's candidate for prime minister.

Dr Mahathir had gone to the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital to visit Anwar yesterday, accompanied by the latter's daughter and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.

"Under Section 26 of the Prisons Act, he is still under the discretion of the prison officer in charge, which means the approval would depend on the officer", he said.

Zulkifli said Anwar's family members were given priority in visiting him at the hospital.

Mahathir not allowed to visit Anwar by prison authorities
Mahathir not allowed to visit Anwar by prison authorities

Mahathir, who earned a reputation during his 22-year tenure as prime minister of being a no-nonsense authoritarian with little time for dissenters promoting liberal values, stands to become the world's oldest leader if the opposition wins.

"I will let the director general explain, as I do not normally step in when concerning operations", Zahid who is also home minister said.

All the visits were in November previous year, after Anwar had undergone surgery for a shoulder injury suffered during a September auto crash involving a Prisons Department vehicle.

On Sunday, Dr Mahathir was formally announced as the coalition's prime minister designate if the opposition wins power in the next general election, which is expected to be held within months.

"There were visits made to Anwar by the Selangor and Penang chief ministers in the past where they had applied and were granted permission".

"I only needed a minute to meet (Anwar), not more".

He also said that consent should be obtained from the prisoner concerned on whether he or she welcomed such visits or otherwise. "There was no intention to talk about politics", he wrote on his blog.

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