PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir says he followed the rule of law when Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was convicted of sodomy in 1998, as he was tried in the courts.
“I followed the rule of law. That thing (conviction) was decided by the courts, not me. Even if I tell you the truth, you will not believe it.
“He (Anwar) had nine months of trial and brought in a number of witnesses. All kinds of things were shown in the court – what else do you ask for?” he said in response to a question after giving a talk at Oxford Union Society, London, on Friday.
The Prime Minister was asked if he had subverted justice with regard to the sodomy case against Anwar, the then deputy prime minister.
“But now I am a good friend of his because we considered getting rid of (Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak) as prime minister far more important than something which had happened in the past,” he said.
Asked if he thought sodomy was a crime, he said it was in Malaysia.
“In our society, it is wrong. If you want to do (it) yourself, go ahead but in England, not Malaysia,” he said.
He also said Israelis should not come to Malaysia as the country had no diplomatic ties with Israel, adding that Malaysia had the right to keep its border closed to certain people.
“We have no diplomatic ties with Israel and we feel that they are doing many wrong things but getting away with them because nobody dares to say anything against them,” he said.
Asked if his stance would be deemed anti-Semitic and targeted individual Israelis rather than the Israeli government, Dr Mahathir said he had a right to voice his views and was not perturbed at being labelled as such by some people.
He also denied targeting individual Israelis, citing the example of Europe’s recent move to ban palm oil.
“Europe wants to declare palm oil as poisonous. Why do you hurt the poor farmers in Malaysia because you dislike the government?” he retorted.
He also said the close relationship between the government and private sector was not necessarily a form of cronyism, but a way to enrich the people and help create wealth for the government to tax.
“That is how I see it in Malaysia, where we work very well with the private sector under the concept called Malaysia Incorporated.
He also defended the affirmative action policy to help the bumiputra, noting that even the United States practised affirmative action.