- Readout of National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Meeting with Malaysian Opposition Leaders
- On The Government’s Direct Involvement In The Trial Of Anwar Ibrahim
- Anwar Ibrahim Meets US National Security Council Director Ambassador Susan Rice
- Misfire in Malaysia
Posted: 28 Apr 2014 01:41 PM PDT
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Today, National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice met with three top leaders of the Malaysian political opposition to hear their views on the situation in Malaysia and their efforts to press for greater democracy, transparency, and reform. Ambassador Rice underscored that the President’s historic visit to Malaysia has been an important opportunity to continue the transformation of the relationship between our two countries–but that even as we deepen our cooperation with the Malaysian government, we are looking to expand our engagement with all of Malaysia, including civil society, industry, students, and participants from across the political spectrum.
Ambassador Rice reiterated the President’s message that countries that welcome the contributions, and uphold the human rights of all their citizens, regardless of their political affiliation, ethnicity, race or religion are ultimately more prosperous and more successful. She also shared the United States’ view that it is critical for Malaysia to apply the rule of law fairly, transparently, and apolitically in order to promote confidence in Malaysia's democracy and judiciary.
Ambassador Rice emphasized to Mr. Anwar that the United States has followed his case closely, and that the decision to prosecute him and the trial have raised a number of concerns regarding the rule of law and the independence of the courts.
Ambassador Rice told the opposition leaders that the United States will continue to raise our concerns about issues of political freedom, the basic universal rights of freedom of expression, freedom of association, and religious liberty–as well as the need to respect and protect the rights of all people, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.
Finally, Ambassador Rice conveyed deep condolences on the passing of democracy and civil rights activist Mr. Karpal Singh.
-Anwar Ibrahim (Mr. Anwar), Leader of the Opposition, chairman of the People's Justice Party
Report and photos can be found here:
Posted: 28 Apr 2014 02:23 AM PDT
PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
During the joint press conference on April 27 with Prime Minister Najib Razak and US President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Najib stated that:
‘Specifically on Anwar's case, it's not — I want to put it on record, it's not about the government against him. It's an action taken by an individual who happens to be his former employee who's taken up this case against him — a complainant. And under the eyes of the law, even if you're a small man or a big man, you have equal justice. I think you believe in that principle.’
This is a dubious and misleading statement for several reasons.
Firstly, the complainant met with Najib just a few days before filing a police report against Anwar Ibrahim. Najib initially denied the meeting took place. Then he admitted it happened but indicated the complainant only visited him to seek help in obtaining a scholarship. Then Najib changed his story again indicating the complainant came to him to express trauma over being allegedly assaulted by Anwar. Following his meeting with Najib, the complainant met with a police officer known to have been deeply involved in the conspiracy to frame Anwar in the 1998 trial. The complainant filed his police report with Anwar the following day.
Secondly, Anwar was acquitted on January 9, 2012 of the charges leveled against him. The prosecution led by the Attorney General filed an appeal on January 20, 2012 and has led the charge to overturn Anwar's acquittal. The AG appointed Shafee Abdullah as lead prosecutor in the appeal, an ad hoc appointment to the case which makes virtually no sense unless one considers his background. Shafee is the lawyer to key members of the ruling UMNO party including Dr Mahathir Mohammad and Najib himself. He has also litigated numerous high-profile cases for UMNO leaders. He was present at the meeting in 2008 between the complainant and Najib. The entire prosecutorial process in the Court of Appeal is tainted with the direct influence and interference of the ruling UMNO party led by Najib. Similar concerns were raised by the legal fraternity who observed the trial including the Bar Council, International Commission of Jurists, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the International Bar Association.
Lastly, Najib said that under the eyes of the law, even if you are a small or big man, you have equal justice. His statement reveals the truly deplorable condition of Malaysia's pliant judiciary. The big men in UMNO-BN complicit in innumerable cases of corruption, abuse of power and murder – such as the Altantuya murder case and the PKFZ scandal – remain virtually immune from prosecution. Meanwhile the small men are systematically denied due process and justice in Malaysia.
For Najib to make a claim that the case against Anwar is a personal matter is consistent with his attempt to deflect from the very real and damning evidence linking him to this conspiracy. For him to utter such calumny standing beside President Obama while stating his commitment to upholding the rule of law is nothing short of an insult to the intelligence of the President, all Malaysians and all Americans.
Posted: 27 Apr 2014 11:54 PM PDT
Anwar Ibrahim, opposition leader of Malaysia, and Justice Party (PKR) advisor, along with Democratic Action Party (DAP) Secretary General Lim Guan Eng and Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) Secretary General of Mustafa Ali met with United States National Security Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice this morning in Kuala Lumpur. Also present was US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel.
In the meeting Ambassador Rice conveyed a personal message from President Barack Obama to Anwar Ibrahim. President Obama said he sends his regards and best wishes to Anwar and wishes to be informed of the progress made in the meeting. Ambassador Rice also offered her condolences on the passing of the late Karpal Singh.
Anwar expressed his appreciation for the personal reference made by President Obama and on his being concerned.
In the meeting several important facets of the US-Malaysia bilateral relationship were discussed.
Ambassador Rice requested input on strategies to improve the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and the United States and recommended an honest conversation about the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
Anwar indicated he believed it is important to explore all avenues of bilateral cooperation and made reference to the United States' comprehensive partnership framework in engaging with neighbouring Indonesia and Vietnam. In those countries, engagement was truly comprehensive covering trade and commerce, security, education, environment as well as issues of human rights, good governance and democracy. Anwar suggested the United States create a Working Group on governance and human rights that included representatives from civil society and opposition as one critical way to strengthen the comprehensive partnership announced during President Obama's visit.
On the issue of the TPPA Anwar believes that Malaysia is a trading nation that must attract Foreign Direct Investment to survive in a challenging global economy. He explained to Ambassador Rice that Pakatan Rakyat has voiced its concerns about the TPPA, specifically regarding its stipulations about the agricultural sector, pharmaceutical sector and the exposure to complex and costly litigation that Malaysia may face upon signing the agreement. Anwar further explained that efforts to engage with the Federal Government to convey Pakatan Rakyat's concerns and suggestions have been rejected. Ambassador Rice noted the need to facilitate a broader conversation in Malaysia about the agreement to ensure all parties understand it, to not vilify the US, and to ensure that the negotiation process is more transparent and inclusive.
Guan Eng, who is also Chief Minister of Penang, highlighted concerns about electoral integrity in Malaysia. He informed Ambassador Rice that despite the fraudulent conduct of May 2013 elections (which has been documented in a joint study by Harvard and the University of Sydney), the opposition still garnered 52% of the popular vote. Guan Eng explained to Ambassador Rice that Anwar Ibrahim should be the rightful Prime Minister of Malaysia right now. Following the 2013 elections, Guan Eng informed Ambassador Rice that the opposition rallied millions of Malaysians from across the country and around the world to protest the fraudulent outcome. Although never conceding defeat, after six weeks of sustained protests, the opposition agreed to move forward with the business of governing in the interests of avoiding civil strife.
Mustafa Ali stated that Malaysia suffers from the failure of federalism. The states rely heavily on the federal government for development, education and social welfare programs. Mustafa explained to Ambassador Rice that the federal government controlled by the UMNO-dominated BN coalition will resort to punishing states that are controlled by the opposition, such as by withholding development funds (e.g. the Petroleum Royalty for Kelantan). Ultimately the people suffer. Mustafa also emphasized to Ambassador Rice the need for a free media and an independent election commission to correct these problems.
Anwar expresses his appreciation on the availability of Ambassador Rice for these candid and frank discussions.
After the session with Pakatan Rakyat, Anwar and Ambassador Rice continued for a one-on-one session for approximately 20 minutes.
Posted: 27 Apr 2014 09:26 PM PDT
President Obama is on the final legs of his Asian tour that included a two-night weekend stop in the increasingly prosperous Muslim-majority nation of Malaysia. So it’s a shame that Mr. Obama pointedly chose not to meet with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who nearly won last year’s election even as he appeals a second suspicious conviction on sodomy charges.
“The fact that I haven’t met with Mr. Anwar in and of itself isn’t indicative of our lack of concern, given the fact that there are a lot of people I don’t meet with and opposition leaders that I don’t meet with,” Mr. Obama said at a joint news conference on Sunday with Prime Minister Najib Razak. “And that doesn’t mean that I’m not concerned about them.” The opposition leader met instead with White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
Mr. Obama doesn’t meet with every opposition leader, but he was happy to meet with the leader of Angela Merkel’s opposition, German Peer Steinbrueck, and his former campaign adviser David Axelrod is advising British Labor Party leader Ed Miliband. Malaysia wants to join the ranks of rising middle-income states and be considered a full-fledged democracy, yet its ruling party has never lost an election. Mr. Anwar won an appeal of his first conviction but then faced a second indictment as he prepared to fight an election in which his party won 51% of the vote but only 40% of the seats.
Mr. Obama could have sent a powerful message of American concern and political tolerance by meeting with Mr. Anwar, and the symbolism of his failure to do so won’t be lost on Malaysians, especially the young urban voters who are Mr. Anwar’s core supporters.
Wall Street Journal Article
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