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Anwar Ibrahim to seek deeper ties with PH after he takes over Mahathir as PM: We can’t share poverty, we can only share wealth

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Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad’s prospective successor, Anwar bin Ibrahim, said he will pursue the current administration’s vision of strengthening bilateral relations with the Philippines and other neighbors.

In a press conference here, Anwar said he and Mahatir shared a common belief in pushing for regional cooperation.

“It’s not just me, even Tun Mahatir has made very clear that neighbors should be enhanced the cooperation, create investments. I shared it very much,” he said when asked for his plans for the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Malaysia once he assumes premiership.

“There’s so much in common, culturally. The thing is we can help each other. More important is also the economic relations… Regional cooperation is a necessity,” he added.

Anwar is the potential successor of the 92-year old Mahatir once the latter steps down. He needs a seat in parliament to run for Prime Minister.

But before becoming allies, Mahatir and Anwar were bitter political rivals.

In 1998, Mahatir sacked Anwar, his former deputy prime minister and finance minister, who was later convicted of sodomy and corruption.

In 2015, Anwar was jailed again by former Prime Minister Najib Razak. He was released from prison in May this year after getting royal pardon.

Anwar is currently in the country for a speaking engagement at this year’s CEO Conference of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP).

He highlighted that democratic accountability is an integral part of nation building.

The former political prisoner said the government should uphold democracy and the rule of law, noting that “due process must be the ground rule”.

“You cannot abuse power to victimize the opposition,” Anwar stressed.

He also noted that good governance will propel economic growth as it provides effective policies to attract foreign investments while delivering inclusive growth.

“We cannot share poverty. We can only share wealth,” he said.

“You must allow business to thrive. You must facilitate businesses. And there is a clear policy in the government,” he added.

“Marginalization, poverty, inequality — all these must be addressed with economic growth, economic wealth,” Anwar said. (PNA)