Oct 29, 2006

Govt Should Give Rational Explanation To Dr M's Allegations, Says Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 (Bernama) -- The government should give a rational explanation to refute the allegations raised by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his spat with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Sunday.

He said the government should confine itself to answering the allegations pertaining to the issues and policies raised by Dr Mahathir and not resort to any deviation.

"It is not in my interest to get involved in these two people's feud but there are allegations that involve policies which are serious as... (they come from)... a prime minister of 22 years. This matter should be discussed and deliberated (by the current administration).

"(It is) no point for the government to be in a state of denial but give satisfactory answers," he told reporters at the Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at his residence in Bukit Damansara, here.

Anwar, who is Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor, was asked for his views on the current spat between Abdullah and Dr Mahathir, particularly after their four-eyed meeting last Sunday.

He said Dr Mahathir, as a citizen, has every right to criticise the current administration and this warranted some detailed explanation from the current administration, particularly on allegations pertaining to issues and policies.

"We may not be in agreement with Tun (Dr Mahathir). I do not agree that we should belittle (anyone). I do not believe the solution is in being merciless towards him (Dr Mahathir). I respect the right of Dr Mahathir (to criticise). If there is basis to the statements, the government has to reply," he said.

Anwar said the current administration's replies to Dr Mahathir's allegations were not convincing as "several leaders were merely saying Dr Mahathir should not have criticised the prime minister".

Asked if the spat between Abdullah and Dr Mahathir would end soon, Anwar said: "I see no way that it is going to be resolved very soon".

"The former prime minister has taken a strong position. The issues are not just a matter of a few policies but a major devastating critique at the administration," he said.

Last Sunday, Dr Mahathir met Abdullah at Seri Perdana, the official residence of the prime minister, in Putrajaya and they spoke for about two hours on the issues raised by Dr Mahathir.

Soon after the meeting, Dr Mahathir revealed that although he was satisfied with the meeting, he was not happy with the response he got from Abdullah.

Last Thursday, Abdullah described as "doses of venom" the remark by Dr Mahathir that he would continue criticising the government.

Abdullah said he hoped that Dr Mahathir would wait for his explanation to the issues he has raised, but added that before he could explain the former prime minister had launched renewed attacks on him and the government.

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