- Update For August 2016
- Old foes Anwar and Mahathir unite to condemn Malaysia’s new security laws
- Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim legal team to settle for house arrest
Posted: 19 Sep 2016 08:06 AM PDT
Today marks day 588 of Anwar Ibrahim's incarceration.
The world was buzzing with the news of the meeting between former Prime minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim recently. To everyone's surprise Dr Mahathir turned up during a court appearance of Anwar. Anwar was in court to challenge the constitutional legitimacy of the newly minted controversial National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016. The two towering political figure met for the first time in 18 years and embraced each other with a warm handshake and smile. The meeting was indeed significant and received mix reactions from supporters and the public.
Considering their political differences and history between the two, it was humility and grace in its highest form for Anwar.
National Security Council Act (NSC) 2016
While the ruling government claims that the NSC act is crucial in their effort to combat terrorism and radicalization, critics are claiming that the act gives the prime minister and security forces unfettered power. The act allows the prime minister to declare security zone for up to 6 months where arrests and seizures can be made without warrants and total control of all departments including the military and police. The opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan has expressed their opposition to it with a statement calling it "bringing Malaysia to the brink of dictatorship"
"Subject to his whims and fancies, Najib can now declare any area a "security area" for six months at a time, a period of which he is authorized to renew indefinitely. The NSC Act empowers security force with arbitrary powers of violence and deadly force, warrantless arrest, search and seizure, and imposition of curfews. Despite disenfranchising Malaysians to such new lows, the NSC Act also decrees a ban that disallows any action, suit or proceedings to be brought against the NSC Council." It's presidential council said.[i]
Amnesty International's Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific, Josef Benedict raised his concern stating, "With this new law, the government now has spurned checks and assumed potentially abusive powers".
"There is good reason to fear that the Act will be yet another tool in the hands of the government to crack down on peaceful protests under the guise of national security," Josef Benedict further added[ii]
Anwar is currently challenging the constitutional legality of the act by filing a suit from prison claiming that the act came into force without royal assent as the regent council had earlier requested the law to be further refined[iii]. It's clear that the fighting spirit is still alive in Anwar as he is still leading the charge in challenging the ruling government even behind bars.
Birthday Celebration Of Anwar Ibrahim
On 10th Aug 2016, some 500 supporters of Anwar congregated outside the Sg Buloh Prison to celebrate his 69th birthday. A large birthday cake was brought on to the makeshift stage where Anwar’s family members, friends and supporters were already gathered as early as 8pm.
Many political and activist leaders spoke on stage demanding the release of Anwar. They also rallied all Malaysians to remain united to bring down the curtains for Barisan Nasional, the ruling party.
Subsequent to the gathering, two elected opposition representatives were called in for questioning by the police force for their involvement in the gathering outside Sungai Buloh prison. Peoples Justice Party's Vice-President and Member or Parliament, Rafizi Ramli and assemblyman Lee Chean Chung was brought in for questioning for supposingly speaking and singing during the gathering[iv][v].
Tangkap MO1 Rally
After the US justice department coined the term Malaysian Official Number 1(MO1), a rally was called by student activists to put further pressure on the person known to be MO1, Prime Minister Najib.
Leading up to the rally slated to be on the 27th of August, three student activists were detained for promoting the rally under the Peaceful Assembly Act[vi]. This prompted Amnesty International to again come out with a statement urging to stop penalizing peaceful assembly and dissent[vii]. The rally went on and a few thousands turned up for it. What made it significant was the rally was organized and attended primarily by student activists clearly frustrated by the current political climate plaguing the country[viii].
Sedition Blitz Continues
Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) Youth vice-chief Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar was sentenced to 8 months in jail for the crime of sedition. The "crime" was allegedly made during the #KitaLawan rally February last year which was held to call for the release of Anwar after the start of his sentencing.
The Sessions Court judge when passing his judgment said “..the remark brought about hatred, excite dissatisfaction against the government and the administration of justice in the judiciary..and serves as a deterrent to others.[ix]
Again we see the blatant use of a draconian act to impede the most basic of human rights, freedom of speech. It continues to be used by the government as a tool to intimidate and stifle dissent against opposition activists.
Next month I will share the latest setback faced by the opposition coalition where the Election Commission (EC) recently announce a new redelineation of electoral boundaries that will increase gerrymendering and mallaportionment and benefit greatly the current ruling government.
From my recent family visit with Anwar, he sends his regards to all his friends. He is resolute in his fight but certainly hopes that the imprisonment will end soon. Please continue with your prayers and thoughts, pass the message of his struggle so that his pain and suffering will not remain unknown.
Thank you and till next month.
On behalf the family of Anwar Ibrahim
Posted: 19 Sep 2016 02:10 AM PDT
Channel News Asia (19 September 2016)
KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has teamed up with an unlikely ally – former deputy Anwar Ibrahim – to condemn the country’s new National Security Council Act.
In a statement issued on Monday (Sep 19), Dr Mahathir and the jailed opposition figure said the Act implemented by Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government “threatens the democratic system of the country”.
They said: “We observe that nearly every major institution in the country, including the Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Attorney-General and central bank have already been fully controlled by him.”
“This Act has sidelined the powers and roles of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Conference of Malay Rulers in important matters regarding the security and liberties of the people,” they added.
“It is because of this national crisis that we, together with the people, object to this Act, thereby bringing transformation and reformation that will save the rights and freedom of the people and rebuild our beloved country.”
The statement comes a week after the former rivals met for the first time in 18 years, while the Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader was filing an injunction in court to stop the Act from being enforced.
Mr Anwar was sacked in 1998 by Dr Mahathir over political differences, an episode that continues to reverberate. Charged with sodomy and corruption, he had spent six years in jail.
Posted: 19 Sep 2016 02:05 AM PDT
The Australian- Amanda Hodge (17 September 2016)
Lawyers for jailed Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will seek house arrest for the ailing 69-year-old if a final legal review of his second sodomy conviction fails next month.
Anwar is serving a five-year jail sentence for sodomy after he was convicted in March 2014 in what has been widely condemned as a politically motivated and legally compromised trial.
US lawyer Kimberley Motley said Anwar's legal team would again highlight the lack of DNA evidence and inconsistency of his accuser's testimony in the October 12 appeal — the last legal recourse to overturn his conviction.
"Of course we want to get him released, period, and are going for an acquittal. If that doesn't work we will try for house detention which is allowed under Malaysian law," said Ms Motley, who is best known for her work in Afghanistan including the early release just last month of a former Australian soldier, Robert Langdon, serving time for murder.
Anwar was initially accused of rape by a young male intern to his People's Justice Party (PKR) on June 28, 2008.
He was eventually convicted of a lesser charge of sodomy, still a criminal offence in Malaysia, despite four separate doctors finding no evidence of forcible anal penetration of the alleged victim.
During the trial it was discovered that rectal swabs taken from the victim were compromised by a senior police officer who opened the tamper-proof evidence bag and — against instructions — placed the DNA in his filing cabinet rather than the police freezer.
It was also revealed that Mr Saiful met Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, at the time deputy prime minister, and at least one other government official on June 24, 2008 — two days before he alleged the sodomy took place.
The day after meeting Mr Najib, he met privately a senior police officer who had been involved in Anwar's earlier sodomy trial.
Mr Saiful waited two days after the alleged incident before reporting it at a local hospital.
Ms Motley says Mr Najib should be called to the witness stand to explain what was discussed during that meeting, two days before Mr Saiful apparently went to Anwar's house with a tube of KY jelly — the reason he gave in court for having suffered no physical injury from the incident.
While the case was "riddled with problems", one of the most critical was the issue of evidence tampering by police, she said.
"Why would a senior police officer tamper with evidence? He was instructed to refrigerate it. Instead he opened it and stuck it in his filing cabinet for several days," she told The Weekend Australian.
"There is no evidence of anything that convicts. I don't know of any court where this would have led to a conviction."
Ms Motley, who joined Anwar's legal team just this month, was initially refused access to her client but finally met him on Wednesday during which he appeared "active but tired".
"He's trying to keep his spirits up. He is obviously preparing for (the review) but he's not necessarily expecting a victory," she said.
"Every single step of the way has been a fight. There's a lot of intimidation going on."
Two of Anwar's legal team face sedition charges for speaking out on his case and others are under investigation.
His daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar was also arrested and investigated for sedition last year after speaking out in parliament against his conviction.
A legal white paper on Anwar's case, released in May, said the former deputy prime minister — first convicted of sodomy in similarly politically motivated circumstances under former strongman Mahathir Mohammad — weighed less than 66kg and was in constant pain from spinal injuries sustained during a police beating after his first arrest, and a more recent shoulder injury. The one-time heir apparent fell out with Mr Mahathir over the Asian financial crisis of 1997. He is kept in solitary confinement, allowed just one hour each week with his lawyers and one non-contact visit with family every three weeks.
Supporters point to the fact the second sodomy allegations came just two months after Anwar's political disqualification ended, and three months after he led the opposition parties to their best election result, depriving the ruling UMNO for the first time since 1969 of a two-thirds majority.
In the 2013 election, despite the ongoing sodomy trial, the opposition secured more than 50 per cent of the vote but was unable to form government because of alleged gerrymandering of electoral boundaries.
The sodomy claim also came at a time Mr Najib was under pressure over allegations linking him to the murder of glamorous Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaaribu.
|You are subscribed to email updates from Anwar Ibrahim. |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States|