PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad denies ever saying sorry to PKR president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was sacked and arrested for corrupt practices and sodomy in 1998.
“I didn’t tell him that, other people put words into my mouth because they want me to apologise.
“I have never made any formal apology to him,” he said during an interview with the BBC’s HARDtalk.
Dr Mahathir was responding to the host Zeinab Badawi, who said Anwar, in an interview with the BBC back in June, had said that the premier acknowledged he had made a mistake and that he wanted to make amends.
“Well, that is his opinion,” Dr Mahathir said.
He also said he regretted that Anwar was sentenced to jail, but he would not take the blame for it as the matter was “decided by the court”.
Dr Mahathir also reiterated his stance that he played no part in having Anwar put in prison.
He said when he decided to work with Anwar prior to the 14th General Election, both of them had decided to forget about the past and focus on current issues.
Dr Mahathir also said he would not accept the blame for the state of corruption plaguing the country.
“If I have to accept the blame, then all governments must accept the blame because this corruption is found everywhere to some degree.
“There is no country that can boast that it has no corruption at all,” he added.
He pointed out the five former prime ministers before Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had “no accusation of corruption on that scale”.
He also said Najib abused the system and used his authority to steal money.
Dr Mahathir admitted that the country did lose money on trading and currency during his first tenure as prime minister, but that it was not him that lost the money.
“It wasn’t me. I couldn’t take the blame for somebody being corrupt,” he said.