Questions were raised by the opposition after Dr Mahathir was stopped at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital from visiting Anwar, who now co-lead the opposition alliance with Dr Mahathir.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who was present at the press conference, said he does not interfere when it comes to operational issues. There was a worry from the prison itself, if we allowed them to meet, it might have been controversial.
Dr Mahathir was on Sunday announced as the opposition prime minister candidate and this was to have been his first visit to the PKR de facto leader.
All the visits were in November previous year, after Anwar had undergone surgery for a shoulder injury suffered during a September auto crash involving a Prisons Department vehicle.
Prisons Department director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Omar said the Prisons Department and the Sungai Buloh Prison had not received any official application from Dr Mahathir to visit Anwar at the hospital.
She said that they knew that there was a chance that Mahathir might not be allowed to visit her father but they tried "to work it out" with the authorities, reported The Star.
Anwar's daughter and PKR vice president Nurul Izzah has criticised the government for its inconsistency.
"My visit to see Datuk Seri Anwar was disallowed".
"According to Section 26 of the Prisons Act, when a prisoner is in a hospital, it is still like he is in prison. It's not easy for him to accept and achieve consensus by approving the designation of me as the PH representative -should we win- to hold the post of Prime Minister", Mahathir said.
Zulkifli explained that while family members are allowed to visit convicts in the prison hospital, anyone else must be screened beforehand and subject to approval. "However, other visitors require special permission".
Mahathir, who has been nominated by Pakatan Harapan (PH) to be the next Prime Minister should the pact win the upcoming election said he only wants to thank Anwar for supporting him in the cause.
"I only needed a minute to meet (Anwar), not more". What is there to be afraid of in me visiting Anwar?
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