Anwar Ibrahim said he was willing to accept former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s olive branch in 2016, but after yet another falling out, the PKR president said he must take his own path.
Anwar said this was because he cannot repeatedly take conspiracies and betrayals.
“In 2016, when he came, I said okay, proceed. We forget (about our past) and join forces to save the country.
“Was there hurt feeling? As a human, there certainly was, but the country’s interest took precedence.
“But if the conspiracies and betrayals kept repeating, then that won’t do,” Anwar said in an interview with Malaysia Gazette.
“So now, it’s okay, let it be. I will take my own path,” he added.
Anwar served as deputy prime minister from 1993 to 1998 with Mahathir as his boss.
However, they had a falling out and Mahathir later sacked him as deputy prime minister and had him jailed.
They reconciled in 2016 to face a common enemy – then prime minister and Umno president Najib Abdul Razak, who brought about the 1MDB scandal.
Their reconciliation contributed to Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the 2018 general election.
An arrangement was made for Mahathir to be sworn in as an interim prime minister while Anwar, who is the Port Dickson MP, was to eventually succeed him.
Mahathir had publicly said he would hand over power to Anwar, but it was later revealed that the Langkawi MP intended to eventually resign but did not plan to muster the necessary support for Anwar from his party Bersatu.
Bersatu, under its president Muhyiddin Yassin, later pulled the trigger on its own, pulling out from Harapan and took several defectors with them.
This led to the collapse of the Harapan government.
Mahathir opposed to the move for a news coalition government as it would entail cooperation with Umno and he was eventually ousted from Bersatu himself.
Muhyiddin later took over as prime minister, with a new Perikatan Nasional government.
The opposition, spearheaded by Harapan, has been attempting to regain power but the icy relations between Anwar and Mahathir have been a stumbling block.
However, Anwar maintained that the opposition can regain power and his announcement of having gained a majority in the Dewan Rakyat in September still stands.
“The process is still ongoing. It would not make sense for me to seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong if I was not confident with my numbers,” he said.
Anwar said he respected the Agong’s wisdom to delay the move, but stressed that it would be sorted out in the near future.
“I am coming in with a programme and agenda. This country has the potential to be great – be it from an economic or social aspect.
“Corruption, the arrogance of power – we want to put an end to this. I am confident that with the support of our friends, we can do it.
“Yes, we have made mistakes in the past, but we got to where we are because we understand the people’s plight,” Anwar added.