Tag Archives: Politics

The Case Against Anwar–Review and Outlook from Wall Street Journal Asia

July 29, 2008

It’s been a month since an aide to Anwar Ibrahim accused the Malaysian opposition leader of sodomy, yet no formal charge has been filed nor has Mr. Anwar been allowed to see the police report filed against him. Now, the case against Mr. Anwar looks shakier still.

Yesterday, Mr. Anwar’s supporters pointed to an independent political blog, MalaysiaToday, which posted a two-page medical report it said was written by a doctor who examined Saiful Bukhari Azlan on June 28, the day the aide went to the police with his complaint. The alleged report is written in shorthand and signed by Dr. Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid. It says that a rectal examination showed no active bleeding, tears or injury.

The hospital yesterday confirmed that Dr. Mohamed is on staff, but wouldn’t comment on the report. MalaysiaToday’s editor, Raja Petra Kamarudin, confirmed to us by telephone that he has seen the original report. Dr. Mohamed hasn’t been seen since the post on MalaysiaToday. A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office declined comment to us. The Deputy Inspector-General of Police told the New Straits Times that investigations were continuing.

This great wall of silence raises many questions. If it’s true that Mr. Anwar’s aide didn’t present any physical signs of injury at the hospital, then on what basis was the police report filed? If the aide went to a government hospital to get a second opinion — as required under the law in sodomy cases, and as the first doctor suggested — what did that second doctor see? And why is the accuser, Mr. Saiful, still formally under police protection?

This has hallmarks of a case being built after, not before, the purported “crime.” [more]

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Commentary from the Wall Street Journal: It’s Déjà Vu for Malaysia’s Opposition Leader

By MARY KISSEL
July 26, 2008

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

“I was dumped into this high-security police lockup for, you see, these high-level criminals. . . . On the cement floor, without any mattresses. That explains why I have to be back on this.” Anwar Ibrahim gingerly peels up his shirt to reveal a corset-like back brace. And then he bursts into laughter.

[The Weekend Interview]
Ismael Roldan

For a man released from a night in jail only a few days earlier, Mr. Anwar is an awfully jolly man. Malaysia’s opposition leader has been accused of sodomy by a former aide — a criminal offense in this Muslim-majority country that could send him to jail for up to two decades. It’s a bizarre déjà vu for the bespectacled politician, who spent 1998-2004 behind bars on a trumped-up sodomy charge the last time he challenged for political power.

But he’s pushing ahead: On Wednesday, Mr. Anwar vowed to run for parliament “imminently” in a by-election, with the aim of toppling the government by September. If he’s successful, he could be the next prime minister of Malaysia.

None of this would matter much outside Southeast Asia were it not for the fact that Mr. Anwar’s political coalition espouses something unusual in the Muslim world: the virtues of a secular, free-market democracy. More Muslims live in Asia — Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh — than in the Middle East.

Mr. Anwar is unusually suited to bridge East-West divides. A Muslim, “though never typically very religious,” he chuckles, he is a good friend of Saudi Arabia and the U.S. alike — a man who memorized “hundreds of Elvis Presley, Paul Anka and Ricky Nelson tunes” in his youth, but also attended weekend religious classes and, in his 20s, founded the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia. He has never been afraid to argue that democracy and Islam are compatible forces — or to make that case to undemocratic Arab regimes.

In many ways, Malaysia — though it sports big urban centers and modern wonders like the Petronas Towers — seems stuck in a time warp. The media is largely state-controlled, and the executive branch still locks up political dissidents without trial under the British colonial-era Internal Security Act. [More]

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Anwar may contest in Kulim-Bandar Baharu

By V. CHANDRASEKARAN

SUNGAI PETANI: PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is expected to announce where he would be contesting during a gathering at the Chinese Recreational Club in Kulim on Sunday.

Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul said he believed Anwar would make the announcement as part of the strategy by Pakatan Rakyat to take over the Federal Government.

“The fact is that the announcement will be made in Kulim should surprise the people.

“Sept 16 is the party’s deadline to form the next Federal Government and the planned by-election is within that framework,” he told a press conference here on Thursday night. [more]

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