Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad on Monday met Anwar Ibrahim, the jailed de facto leader of the opposition alliance, for the first time in 18 years, signalling growing unity among opponents of scandal-tainted prime minister Najib Razak.
Malaysia’s political landscape has been shaped for nearly two decades by a bitter feud between Anwar and Mahathir, whose decision to sack Anwar as his deputy sparked an opposition movement, Reformasi, or Reform, in 1998.
But in July, Anwar endorsed a political compact spearheaded by Mahathir, as ruling party rebels and the opposition joined hands to fight against Najib.
The new coalition poses potentially the biggest political threat to Najib, who has been facing calls to step down over multi-billion dollar graft allegations tied to a state-owned investment fund he oversaw, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
On Monday, social media was flooded with pictures of the two men shaking hands and chatting cordially in a high court in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, where Anwar had sought an injunction to stop implementation of the National Security Council (NSC) Act.
I am very glad to learn of this latest development since I entertain good opinion about both of them. While I never had any opportunity of meeting Dr. Mohammad but I was privileged to meet Mr. Ibrahim and his daughter a few years ago when he was stationed in the USA and was considered a candidate for the post of Secretary General of the UN.
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