Anwar-Najib May 9 Phone Call – Dr M’s Name Silenced Najib

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Najib fell silent when Anwar directed him to incoming prime minister Dr Mahathir.

PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim has shed more light on his telephone conversation with former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak on the night six decades of Barisan Nasional (BN) rule collapsed.

In an interview with ThaiPBS, Anwar said Najib had in that conversation persistently asked for some sort of arrangement.

“He was going on and on saying this – there are possibilities of having some sort of arrangement because we (BN) are not satisfied with the results of the election.

“Finally, I said look, I am still technically in prison… This is going to be your last call to me, after this, you are going to deal with Mahathir.

“Then he became a bit quiet for a while,” he said.

When ThaiPBS interviewer Suthichai Yoon asked if Anwar had completely closed the door to possible cooperation with BN, he said his message to Najib was that he should concede defeat first and that discussions, if any, could come later.

“He did indicate that he was prepared to discuss and negotiate, but I didn’t entertain this. Our mandate was very clear, we won a clear majority. (I told him) this (discussion) would come later.

“If you want to, you have to discuss with Mahathir, he kept quiet…nothing,” he said.

However, Anwar said despite his advice to Najib to concede defeat, the outgoing premier put it off until the next morning.

“He refused (to concede) until the next morning at around 11am, and even then he was a bit combative.

“It was actually due to his plain arrogance that invited this sort of backlash,” he said.

Anwar told ThaiPBS that he was amenable to an alliance with Mahathir when the latter first approached him with an olive branch but was not too impressed.

“But I saw how hard he worked, how difficult it was for him.

“In the first few rallies, every speaker before him would say how Mahathir had imprisoned them, or (had them) assaulted…he had to swallow these things.

“Until the end of the (14th general election) campaign, he was there nightly. He was very tough. I think people do give him credit, and I do too,” he said.

Anwar added that Mahathir himself suffered by siding with the then-opposition under Najib’s administration.

He said he believed that Mahathir had accepted the necessity of reforms after personally witnessing the decline of the country.

“Some people may attribute (these problems) to him, but I would say he could not have imagined that it would have got to this extent.”

Now, Anwar believes he has a “good” relationship with his former nemesis.

“I don’t meet him that often, but we have private exchanges once every fortnight. I have long chats with him.”

These chats, Anwar said, are on policy matters and issues affecting the country.

Asked how he was preparing to take over from Mahathir in the future, Anwar said he is being kept abreast on the country’s affairs with the former’s blessing.

“The prime minister has been kind. He has allowed the ministers to brief me and talk to me,” he said.