Former Umno member denies publishing book critical of Anwar Ibrahim and urges disbelievers to find out the real individual for themselves.
KUALA LUMPUR: One of the more heated moments at the Citizens’ Declaration forum last night saw panelist Badrul Hisham Shaharin repeating his accusation that former Umno man Khairuddin Abu Hassan had published “50 Reasons Why Anwar Ibrahim Cannot Be PM”, a book critical of the former Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
“Much of the media reported it, and I can show you myself. I apologise for accusing you of writing it, but you were definitely involved (in its publication),” Badrul told Khairuddin.
Khairuddin however fully denied his involvement in the publication of the book, which is considered to have sparked the expulsion of Anwar from government and Umno in the late 90s.
“From 1998 until today, Anwar has never taken action against me. Take the book, see who wrote and published it,” Khairuddin said.
He also repeated his claims when met by reporters, saying it was unfortunate that the public saw him as a lackey of former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“I was not the author or publisher of the book. Anwar did not know me in 1998, and I have sworn before on the Quran that if Mahathir had ordered me to publish the book to topple Anwar, I would have left my ‘akidah’ in Islam,” Khairuddin said.
Khairuddin had previously only denied being ordered by Mahathir to produce the controversial book, but had not denied publishing it.
According to a Sinar Harian report, Khairuddin had admitted to publishing the book, although not on Mahathir’s orders.
“(Mahathir) did not want to believe what we were saying about Anwar,” he had reportedly said. “Tun Mahathir’s disbelief was the reason why I published the book. It was not on his orders.”
Khairuddin last night however repeated his support for efforts to free Anwar from prison where the politician is serving a five-year sentence for sodomy. Khairuddin also pledged he would be the first former Umno leader to fight for Anwar’s release.