Anwar Ibrahim admitted that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad used him to win over the support of his colleagues, who were then the opposition, prior to the recent general election.
But the PKR de-facto leader said he had no issues with it as Mahathir was committed to Pakatan Harapan’s agenda.
“So it was okay for me to be used as long as we move as a mature democracy, we rid the country of corruption and all the excesses that has taken place in the past,” he told the BBC’s Lyse Doucet in a recent interview.
Doucet had asked the former deputy prime minister if he was worried that Mahathir – his one time mentor turned nemesis and now ally – was using him to get what he wants.
Anwar said in politics people “use one another”.
Mahathir, blamed by many for Anwar’s incarceration on sodomy and corruption charges, recently led PH to a victory in the May 9 general election.
Last month Anwar was granted a royal pardon and released from a five year jail term under former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration for sodomising a former aide.
On Mahathir’s cronies and reforms
Anwar said that he wanted to give Mahathir “space and latitude” to lead effectively.
He had been asked to comment on the concerns of those in his camp that the former Umno president was bringing back “old cronies” who are allegedly responsible for problems PH aimed to resolve.
Anwar said he does not deny such concerns and had raised it with Mahathir. “He said, yes, there is baggage, but they have a better understanding and can contribute.”
Anwar added: “Because, I want a peaceful transition, I need to give him space and latitude to lead effectively. That is what is happening now.”
On succeeding Mahathir as prime minister
Anwar said that he had it in writing he would succeed Mahathir as the prime minister, adding that the document was signed by “all party leaders”.
When asked if the agreement was iron clad, Anwar said there has to be some form of trust.
To a question if he still trusted Mahathir after what he did to Anwar and his family, the former finance minister said: “Yeah, we have to move on.”