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Mahathir denied permission to visit Anwar in hospital

KUALA LUMPUR Prison authorities yesterday denied former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad permission to visit fellow opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in hospital.

Anwar is serving a five-year sentence for sodomy and is in hospital after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder in November. He is scheduled to be released from prison on June 8.

Dr Mahathir said he wanted to thank Anwar - the de-facto leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) - for consenting to his nomination as opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan's prime minister designate.

"Anwar has a long history with me, it is not easy to reach a consensus," he said.

DISAPPOINTMENT

Dr Mahathir also voiced his disappointment that he was not allowed to meet "a friend" despite living in a democratic country.

Anwar's daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar described the decision to bar Dr Mahathir as arbitrary and uncalled for, considering politicians from ruling party Umno - such as Prime Minister Najib Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi - were allowed to visit her father in November.

Ms Nurul Izzah, who is also MP for Lembah Pantai, greeted Dr Mahathir when he arrived at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital at 4.15pm.

They then met Prisons Department officials to seek permission to visit Anwar.

Approximately 35 minutes later, Dr Mahathir and Ms Nurul Izzah informed reporters that the authorities had rejected their request to meet Anwar.

Dr Mahathir's last known meeting with Anwar was on Sept 5, 2016, when the two met for the first time in 18 years.

On Sunday, Dr Mahathir was formally announced as the coalition's prime minister designate if the opposition wins power in the next general election, which is expected to be held within months.

Anwar's wife, PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, was named deputy prime minister designate. - THE STAR

WORLD