Posted: 22 Aug 2016 04:55 AM PDT
Today marks 560 days Anwar Ibrahim has spent time behind bars. This past August 10th also marked his 69th birthday; the second year in a row Anwar is spending his birthday in prison.
Celebrating Eid in Sungai Buloh
On the 5th of July on the eve of Eid day, Anwar's family and supporters gathered outside Sungai Buloh prison to "celebrate" Eid with Anwar.
Eid celebration comes after a month of fasting from dawn to dusk, a joyous occasion to celebrate a month of fasting, charity, obedience to god and reflections, spent usually with family and friends.
On that night gathering prayers was offered together to mark Eid celebration and opposition leaders and family members gave speeches to the supporters outside the gates of prison.
On the 7th of July in conjunction with the second day of Eid, Anwar's family members were allowed to visit him at Sungai Buloh. The permission to visit allowed Anwar's wife and children the opportunity to spend an hour together where they shared some customary Eid traditional delicacies. Although short lived, it proved to be precious for Anwar's family to spend some time together with Anwar for Eid.
Court Ruling On Eligibility To Vote
On the 15th of July, in a suit against the Election Commission (EC), the High Court ruled that Anwar has the right to vote even while in prison in line with the Constitution. Anwar claimed that he was denied his right to vote during the last Permatang Pauh by-election, which was vacated when he was sentenced to prison. However the High Court also dismissed the suit as the court ruled that the suit should be directed to the Prison Department for not providing the avenue to vote
Anwar's lawyer N. Surenden MP remarked "I also want to add that this decision also shows that up to now, that right has been denied because there has been no attempt by the EC to ensure that those prisoners who are qualified are taken out and arrangements made to ensure they can cast their vote,". N. Surendan wanted a clear declaration by the High Court to ensure a similar incident does not repeat in the future.
Other Court Proceedings
In a defamation suit against the current Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, which was filed in originally in 2008, the High Court has allowed the case to be heard and will be calling Khairy Jamaluddin to testify on September 19. Anwar claimed Khairy uttered defamatory words during a speech in Lembah Pantai constituency, a Parliamentary seat held by Nurul Izzah Anwar.
On the 22nd of July, political blogger Papagomo failed in his final appeal to overturn a 2014 court verdict finding him guilty of defamation against Anwar. The High Court previously ordered Papagomo to pay 800,000 ringgit in damages.
The 1MDB Saga Continues
Anwar has been consistent in his opposition to endemic corruption within the ruling party and was among the first to have brought up the issue of corruption and shady dealings in the 1MDB scandal in 2010. 6 years later the issue has now evolved into the biggest scandal in Malaysia's history and the Department of Justice of United States of America has opened an investigation to recover more than USD1 billion in money laundered through the American financial system
Free and fair election advocacy group BERSIH has called for a mammoth rally after the DOJ 1MDB suit to pressure for Prime Minister to step down as he is deeply embroiled in the saga
Since the incarceration of Anwar, Malaysia continues to be embroiled with scandals after scandals. Former Opposition Leader and Democratic Action Party(DAP) Member of Parliament, Lim Kit Siang quipped in his speech that “If Anwar had become Prime Minister in 2013, Malaysia would have been spared the agony of the protracted 1MDB scandal, there would be no DOJ lawsuit derogatory of the nation's international reputation and Malaysia would be spared the latest label as a global kleptocracy.”
Let us hope the ordeal of Anwar will end soon and his release will allow him to lead in rebuilding Malaysia. By removing Anwar from politics, the government has successfully eliminated a successful coalition that was capable of replacing the government during the next General Elections. We see growing calls from activists not to forget Anwar while he languishes in prison and that his sacrifices must not go to waste in ensuring the struggle continues for a better Malaysia.
Till next month. Take care and thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
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