Updated July 9:
Comical. That's how Minister senior Cabinet minister Salleh Said Keruak describes Mahathir's latest antic. Salleh said if Mahathir is saying that he had jailed Anwar Ibrahim unjustly for sodomy, then the former PM should apologise to his former heir apparent for doing what he did (which included influencing the court's decision at that time).
Puchong, 8 July 2017: We were talking about U-turns just the other day, wondering what else Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 92, would trade next just to save his own soul.
True enough, Malaysia's Prime Minister for 22 years until 2003 (and who has said he wouldn't mind being PM again if the Opposition wins the next general elections) has found a way to bend backwards even farther. This time he's said that Anwar Ibrahim (whose name, by the way, is today synonymous with sodomy because of Mahathir) "is a victim of political vendetta".
The Guardian has described it as "a remarkable political U-turn ahead of a general election next year" [Father of modern Malaysia backs jailed former deputy in attempt to oust PM].
Mahathir convinced the British newspaper in a special interview in London that a new administration (with Mahathir himself as the temporary PM, which he didn't say) would "seek a royal pardon to allow (Anwar) to re-enter politics".
" In the case of Anwar we can make a case that he was unfairly treated. The decision of the court was obviously influenced by the government and I think the incoming government would be able to persuade the King to give a full pardon for Anwar,” Mahathir said. “In which case he would be able to participate in politics and become PM. I can have no objection to that.”
PM Najib Razak has responded to Mahathir's remarkable U-turn. A clear sign that the Old Man's panicky, he said.
"... this U-turn is not about the coming general election ... Mahathir knows that the RCI findings could lead to criminal prosecution, so he cannot afford to have individuals highly relevant to the case such as Anwar testifying against him," Najib said.
Najib added that it was "ironic that Mahathir now needs Anwar, the man he sacked and jailed".
He added that Dr Mahathir's endorsement of Anwar comes after 20 years of Mahathir "vilifying him and using every possible means at his disposal to eliminate Anwar from the political process, including arresting him under the now-repealed Internal Security Act, prosecuting and jailing him and a sustained campaign to attack his moral character".