PETALING JAYA: Adversaries can bury the hatchet and put aside feelings and ego to defeat a common foe or achieve a singular goal, says former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said removing then-PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Barisan Nasional from power was a shared purpose that led to him working with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim just before the 14th General Election in 2018.
In a video posted on social media on Friday (Oct 21), Dr Mahathir recounted his meeting with Anwar at the Kuala Lumpur High Court before GE14 which was seen as a historic moment after 18 years of enmity between the two leaders.
"When I met Anwar (then), the main thing on my mind was how to block Najib and his Umno-BN government from remaining in power.
"At that point, the whole world was reporting about the tens of billions in taxpayers' dollars stolen by Najib.
"If Najib was not toppled, their betrayal would have remained under wraps and they would have been able to continue stealing," he said in the video.
At that time, he said personal feelings, ego and arrogance were put aside for the good of religion, race and country.
"That was why I was ready to meet with Anwar, because I believed that he, too, felt that way.
"If I had to make the first move, so be it," Dr Mahathir said.
He acknowledged that some ridiculed his effort to hold talks with Anwar.
"If people want to say I am shameless... it has no effect on me.
"What is important is that we (block the path) for those trying to destroy the country," he added.
He noted that the cooperation eventually led to Najib's downfall.
"The fall of Najib showed that we (achieved) something," he said.
Najib is currently serving a 12-year jail sentence after the Federal Court upheld his conviction in the RM42mil SRC International case.
In 2018, Dr Mahathir, who was then the chairman of Bersatu, agreed to join Pakatan Harapan to face off against Barisan Nasional for GE14.
He was appointed the seventh prime minister under the Pakatan administration after the general election.
He subsequently resigned in March 2020 following the Sheraton Move, which resulted in the collapse of the Pakatan government.
On Oct 11, Dr Mahathir, who is currently Parti Pejuang Tanah Air chairman, was asked if he was willing to work with Anwar again.
He said the question of him working with Anwar should be directed to the PKR president.
Enmity between Dr Mahathir and Anwar stretched back to 1998 when the latter was sacked as deputy prime minister
Anwar went on to spearhead the Reformasi Movement, which led to the formation of PKR.
Dr Mahathir will be defending his Langkawi parliamentary seat in the coming polls.
The former premier is also the founding chairman of Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA).
It was previously reported that Anwar said he was not keen on working with Dr Mahathir or GTA.