2 March 2015

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Malaysiakini

Selain di Kuala Lumpur, himpunan solidariti terhadap pemenjaraan Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim berhubung kes liwat pada 7 Mac ini, juga akan diadakan di beberapa buah negara.

Sekretariat #KitaLawan mengalu-alukan keprihatinan dan inisiatif rakyat Malaysia khususnya anak muda yang berada di luar negara, menganjur perhimpunan itu, sekurang-kurangnya di enam negara pada waktu tempatan.

Antara lokasi perhimpunan itu ialah Old Palace Yard, London – berdekatan dengan bangunan Parlimen United Kingdom; di depan Bangunan Parlimen Australia, di Canberra, di depan Parlimen South Australia, di Adelaide dan di Liberty Square di Taipei, Taiwan.

Perhimpunan di Old Palace dan Liberty Square masing-masing berlangsung pada jam 11 pagi dan 7 malam waktu tempatan.

Manakala di Canberra dan Adelaide berlangsung serentak jam 4 petang waktu tempatan.

“Mereka bersolidariti demi menyatakan bantahan terhadap pemenjaraan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim sebagai tahanan politik serta menarik perhatian masyarakat antarabangsa mengenai (dakwaan) ketidakadilan, kezaliman, rasuah dan salah guna kuasa oleh pemerintah di Malaysia,” kata sekretariat itu dalam satu kenyataan.

Sekretariat itu juga memaklumkan perhimpunan itu bakal diadakan di beberapa bandar di Amerika Syarikat termasuk di New York; Jepun, New Zealand dan negara Eropah yang akan dimaklumkan melalui laman sosial facebok rasmi mereka kelak.

Pembentukan gabungan yang dinamakan “Kita Lawan” dibuat sebagai reaksi terhadap pemenjaraan Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Pada 14 Februari lalu, seramai 400 orang berhimpun di depan pusat membeli belah Sogo dan berjalan hingga ke Pudu Raya bagi menyatakan sokongan kepada Anwar yang juga ketua umum PKR.

Bagaimanapun, Ketua Polis Negara Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar memberi amaran supaya rakyat tidak mengadakan sebarang demonstrasi, namun gabungan itu tidak mengendahkannya.

Ekoran itu aktivis siswa Adam Adli, Penyelaras Jingga 13 Faris Musa dan Ketua AMK Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad ditahan di bawah Seksyen 143, Kanun Keseksaan Akta Himpunan Aman 2012.

2 March 2015

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The Economist

The jailing of Anwar Ibrahim is a setback for the whole country, not just the opposition

AFTER taking an inexplicable four months to make up its mind, Malaysia’s highest court on February 10th came up with the verdict its critics said had been scripted for it all along. It rejected an appeal by Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader, against his conviction on a charge of sodomy—of having sex in 2008 with a young man who had worked for him. It upheld the five-year jail sentence imposed last March. Since a prison term also entails a five-year ban after release from running for political office, this would rule Mr Anwar out of the next two general elections. And since he is 67, it might mark the end of his political career.

The three-party coalition he heads, Pakatan Rakyat, poses the most serious threat the United Malays National Organisation, UMNO, has faced in its nearly six decades of continuous rule. But the opposition depends heavily on Mr Anwar’s leadership, so his sentence sounds like good news for the prime minister, Najib Razak. Celebration, however, would be short-sighted.

Having Mr Anwar out of the way certainly offers political benefits to the government. In the general election in 2013, when he led the Pakatan campaign, it won more of the popular vote than the UMNO-dominated coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN), though, thanks to gerrymandered constituencies, it won only 40% of parliamentary seats. Yet Pakatan is an unlikely and fractious coalition. One of its members is a conservative Islamist party, appealing to the ethnic-Malay, Muslim majority; another represents mainly the ethnic-Chinese minority; Mr Anwar himself heads a multiracial, secular party. An important factor in keeping these elements together has been Mr Anwar himself.

A former deputy prime minister, he fell out with his mentor, Mahathir Mohamad, during the Asian financial crisis in 1998, and emerged as the leading advocate of reformasi—fundamental reform of an ossified, corrupt political system. He is by far the opposition’s best-known and most charismatic figure, despite—indeed, in part because of—his six years in jail for alleged corruption and on an earlier charge of sodomy (later overturned).

His latest conviction, however, is a mixed blessing for the government. It insists the judiciary is independent, and points out that, in this case, the charges were brought by the alleged sexual partner. But conspiracy theorists—a category including virtually every observer of Malaysian politics—will interpret Mr Anwar’s legal travails as politically motivated. After the verdict, he spoke to the judges: “In bowing to the dictates of your political masters, you have become partners in the murder of the judiciary…You chose to remain on the dark side.” They walked out, but Mr Anwar’s supporters at home will think he did no more than state the obvious. Even abroad, where Malaysia is often praised as a model of Muslim-majority democratic moderation, many will be suspicious. Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch (HRW), a monitoring group, called the verdict a “travesty of justice”.

Critics point to many curious aspects of the case. According to research cited by HRW, the law under which Mr Anwar has been convicted has been invoked only seven times since 1938. Mr Anwar was acquitted of this charge in 2012 because DNA evidence had been mishandled, only for the government’s prosecutor to appeal against the decision. So, unfairly or not, the case has harmed the image of Malaysia’s judiciary, and, to the extent that he is seen as implicated in its decisions, of Mr Najib himself.

Already his reputation as a liberal and moderate has been dented by his government’s use of another archaic and draconian law, on sedition, to hound its critics. They include a political cartoonist known as Zunar who was arrested this week, apparently for a tweet critical of the verdict on Mr Anwar. Having promised to repeal the sedition law, Mr Najib in November said it would actually be strengthened. That was seen as a concession to conservatives within UMNO. They present a far greater immediate threat to Mr Najib than does the opposition, especially since they have the support of Dr Mahathir. He vacated the prime minister’s office in 2003 and is now 89, but remains a powerful political force. He has turned against Mr Najib, as he did against his predecessor, Abdullah Badawi—and indeed Mr Anwar before that.

With Mr Anwar behind bars, UMNO hardliners will have less reason to worry about the opposition, and can concentrate their fire on Mr Najib’s leadership. They have been handed a weapon in the troubles surrounding 1MDB, a sovereign-wealth fund, whose board of advisers Mr Najib chairs. It is behind on debt repayments and accused of a woeful lack of transparency. This week a group of Malaysian banks was reported to have threatened it with being called into default if payment is not made this month. Politicians from both the opposition and UMNO have called for investigations into 1MBD. Its troubles might even have an impact on Malaysia’s standing as a sovereign borrower. Last month Fitch, a ratings agency, called it a “source of uncertainty”.

Chameleon karma

Under attack from his own right flank, Mr Najib has little room to make good his promises of political liberalisation. Even economic reforms—where he has a respectable record of, for example, widening the tax base and cutting fuel subsidies—may stall. The most difficult ones require the ending of Malaysia’s rules mandating commercial discrimination in favour of the Malay majority, a system to which many in UMNO are wedded.

So the BN, whose ethnic-Chinese and ethnic-Indian components fared disastrously in 2013, risks becoming a mere shell for an UMNO ever more beholden to Malay-nationalist forces, thus further sharpening a dangerous racial polarisation in Malaysian politics. Mr Anwar, a political chameleon whose real beliefs are sometimes hard to pin down, has many critics, but he could at least credibly lead a coalition that bridges Malaysia’s ethnic divides. That is why his incarceration is a dark day not just for Malaysia’s opposition, but for Mr Najib and the country itself.

2 March 2015

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Malaysiakini

Inside the Sungai Buloh prison, Anwar Ibrahim remains jailed for the 19th day, but little does he know that the atmosphere beyond his prison bars last night was one of noise and merriment.

A pair of lions pranced around at the entrance of the prison, dancing merrily away to the drum beat of a Chinese New Year song.

Sounds from the huge loudspeaker tied to a long pole erected outside the prison added to the season’s cheer.

Several prison guards stood in the dark inside the prison compound, beyond the iron gates and barbed wire, watching the entire show.

A supporter who wanted only to be known as Hafizan remarked, “The real lion is inside (the prison). He is the one with the lion heart. These two lions are here just to say, we are with you, Anwar!”

Another supporter, Dineswari, who came all the way from Johor to see for herself what the nightly vigils for Anwar was like remarked, “It is surreal.”

“I am overwhelmed by the support Anwar continues to have although it has been more than two weeks he is in prison here.”

In spite of the smaller crowd, the vigil cum Chinese New Year event organised by PKR Shah Alam and Wangsa Maju divisions saw candles continued to be lit, oranges distributed to all, shouts of “reformasi” filled the air, Muslim supporters prayed to Allah for Anwar’s well-being and freedom, alongside their Buddhist, Hindu and Christian friends, and the night ended with a “Lawan Tetap Lawan” number from the NGO Jingga 13.

‘Can dad hear all this?’

Anwar’s eldest daughter and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah told the crowd, “I don’t know if dad could hear all this.”

“You have to go through 13 iron gates before you can go to the lock-up which holds my dad,” she said as the crowd appeared shock to hear this.

“There is a CCTV recording, installed three months before his jail sentence on Feb 10, to record his movement 24 hours, seven days a week!” she claimed.

However, these incidents have only fueled the courage and resolve of her entire family to fight the injustice and cruelty inflicted upon Anwar, she said.

She related that her siblings were in several places to speak about Anwar and the current political scenario in Malaysia – her only brother Mohd Ihsan is speaking in New York, sister Nurul Nuha is on a two-day visit to Penang with her two young kids in tow. while her two younger sisters Nurul Ilham and Nurul Iman were in Malacca.

Nurul Izzah herself has just returned from a speaking tour in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

“We want to go to all the programmes we’ve been invited to attend, to shock and awe people about what is happening to the country, and about Anwar’s condition as a prisoner of conscience.

“We’re not doing this just because we love our dad. If it is only about loving our dad, we would be out of this country with him.

“But we are here so that when he is free, we can continue his struggle for reforms, to fight against injustice and cruelty, ” she told the crowd.

‘Persecuted since age 29’

“It’s not been an easy journey as we continue to be attacked and slandered by our enemies,” she lamented, recalling how the authorities have persecuted her father since he was 29 for defending the plight of farmers in Baling in 1974.

Anwar was jailed four other times since then, with the latest being on Feb 10 when the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision to jail him for five years for sodomy.

“But the difference now is my brother Ihsan, who is a lecturer in New York, will help spread the message of reformasi,” Nurul Izzah said.

Ihsan has traditionally shied away from the limelight during all these years preferring to stay and work in the United States while refusing to be politically active, unlike his MP sister, who since her early 20s was in the forefront of the campaign to release Anwar from his jail sentence from 1999 to 2004 for abuse of power related to his first sodomy charge.

“Recently, Ihsan was asked by Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin to join PKR but he said no; instead he vowed to be a reformist forever and ever,” she added to loud cheer from the crowd.

Tan’s daughter shows solidarity

Anwar remains parliamentary opposition leader and Permatang Pauh MP until the agong decides on a royal petition submitted by the family led by Anwar’s wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on Feb 24 to seek for his pardon and release.

During the vigil, Nurul Izzah was joined by Tan Su Mei (left, with microphone), daughter of Wangsa Maju MP Tan Kwee Keong, who strongly condemned Anwar’s imprisonment and pledged support for him and his family.

She said her father could not attend the vigil as he had just undergone a minor brain surgery at the Tropicana Medical Centre.

“Both my dad and Anwar are of the same age, they were born in 1947 and have passed the official retirement age of civil servants.

“They – Anwar is locked away in a hotel here in Sungai Buloh, while my father has ‘two holes’ in his head as a result of his brain surgery but they are still fighting for the cause.

“Both of them could have done something better if they wanted, for example, many of their friends are taking care of their grandchildren, travelling the world or taking it easy,” she added.

“But Anwar and my dad are in the Justice Party (PKR), fighting for justice although I do not know if what they are doing to themselves represents justice at all,” she stressed.

“People who have sacrificed so much for the country should not be in prison for their good intentions,” she said, ending her brief speech with shouts of reformasi.

Meanwhile, Kota Anggerik assemblyman Yaakob Sapari (left, in blue) urged the people to support the reprint of his booklet ‘Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim Yang Saya Kenali’ (The Anwar Ibrahim I Know).

The 11-page booklet includes the story of Anwar’s political struggle as a student activist in the 1970s, his incarceration under the Internal Security Act to his rise to the second highest government post in 1982 and his fall from grace when he was sacked from his deputy prime minister’s post in 1998.

“Whether it is RM10, RM100 or RM1,000, please support this effort to tell the public who is Anwar Ibrahim, especially to the youths who may not have had access to enough information about him,” he said.

2 March 2015

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TMI

Two senior members of the Malaysian Bar have urged the Bar Council to take action against lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah for his conduct after the sodomy conviction of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Lawyer Tommy Thomas and retired Court of Appeal judge Tan Sr V.C. George said that from the time the Federal Court convicted Anwar on February 10, Shafee, has behaved in a repugnant and obnoxious manner which has brought the legal profession into disrepute.

In a motion submitted to the Bar Council ahead of its annual general meeting (AGM) on March 14, the two senior lawyers also urged the incoming council for the 2015-2016 term to lodge a report against Shafee with the Disciplinary Board.

They also said that steps must be taken to further prevent Shafee from bringing the legal profession into disrepute.

This motion will be debated at the AGM and if approved, the incoming council must act on it.

Shafee, who was appointed by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to prosecute the Sodomy II appeal before the Federal Court, was accused of wilfully, and with impunity:

  • holding press conferences condemning Anwar who cannot respond as a convicted prisoner serving time;
  • drawing attention to his prowess, allegedly as a top rate prosecutor;
  • demeaning Anwar and his legal team, and the defence that were relied upon them in court proceedings;
  • giving interviews with the traditional and online media on his performance as prosecutor; and
  • organising and participating in nationwide roadshows, with a political party, with the purpose of insulting a convicted prisoner and for bringing attention to his role in the conviction.

Shafee is no stranger to action by the Bar Council as previously, he was found guilty for misconduct and fined RM5,000 for advertising himself. His appeal to the High Court was rejected and is now pending in the Court of Appeal.

He had also come under fire from Universiti Malaya’s law professor Gurdial Singh Nijhar, who felt the senior lawyer may have committed contempt for revealing intimate details of the in-camera evidence at the first roadshow in Petaling Jaya, Selangor where Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, who is also Youth and Sports Minister, was present.

Shafee then held another talk at Anwar’s parliamentary constituency of Permatang Pauh, where the media was prevented from covering the function.

The two senior lawyers said such extreme and outrageous conduct, unprecedented in the annals of common law, cannot be allowed to continue and must receive strong condemnation from his peers.

They also noted thay that former Attorney-General Tun Abu Talib Othman was also quoted as saying that Shafee was advertising and promoting himself in the media, and urged Gani to revoke his appointment.

Shafee was also alleged to have violated the Legal Profession (Publicity) Rules 2001, Rule 5(1)(a)(ii), which prohibits lawyers from publicising themselves or their practice in any manner, “that may reasonably be regarded as being…  in bad taste… sensational, intrusive, offensive or in any other way belittling the dignity of the legal profession”.

They also noted that while Shafee is supported by forces of the state, he is not above the law.

2 March 2015

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TMI

Sama ada petisyen untuk pengampunan diraja dikemukakan atau tidak, dan sama ada ia akan diberikan atau tidak, bagi kebanyakan pengundi Permatang Pauh, ahli Parlimen mereka Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tetap tidak bersalah.

Mereka juga merasakan, petisyen yang diserahkan kepada Istana Negara pada Selasa lalu, bukan masalah dan tidak akan mengubah pandangan mereka sama ada ia mengandungi maksud tersirat yang Anwar bersalah.

Penyokong tegar beliau mungkin berpandangan demikian kerana kesetiaan mereka kepadanya, tetapi bagi orang ramai, persepsinya ialah sama ada beliau bersalah atau tidak, musuh politik Anwar memang hendak mengenakannya.

Ada juga yang berkata, rakyat sudah mula bosan dengan politik untuk menyingkirkannya sebagai satu ancaman kepada Barisan Nasional (BN).

Pengundi Ishak Chik, 56, berpendapat, mereka yang mengatakan Anwar bersalah adalah musuhnya yang tidak mahu beliau terlibat lagi dalam politik.

“Masa dia jatuh dari kerajaan pada 1998 orang dah tuduh dia. Mengapa dia nak buat lagi dan mengundang risiko menyusahkan dirinya lagi? Saya tidak percaya. Tak masuk akal bagi saya.

“Anwar keluar masuk mahkamah sepanjang 16 tahun yang lalu. Siapa lagi dalam negara ini yang hidup sebegitu?

“Kita perlu tanya diri kita sendiri. Kita mesti fikir sedalam-dalamnya, mengapa ini terjadi,” katanya kepada The Malaysian Insider pada Rabu di pasar Sama Gagah di Permatang Pauh, Pulau Pinang.

Pesara itu berkata petisyen yang dikemukakan tidak semestinya bermakna Anwar bersalah, kerana bukan pemimpin pembangkang itu sendiri yang meminta pengampunan.

Ia dikemukakan ahli keluarganya, diketuai isterinya Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, pada saat akhir pada 24 Februari, hari terakhir untuk berbuat demikian.

“Ia bukan pengakuan bersalah. Kenapa dia nak minta pengampunan diraja kalau dia tak bersalah? Isteri dan anak-anaknya yang menghantar petisyen itu kepada Agong untuk menyelamatkan dia.

“Adakah kamu tidak akan cuba melakukan apa yang terdaya bagi menyelamatkan ayah kamu yang dalam kesusahan?” soal Ishak.

Walaupun petisyen itu bermakna Anwar akan terus kekal di kerusi Parlimen Permatang Pauh sehingga Agong membuat keputusan mengenai permohonan pengampunan itu, Ishak percaya pilihan raya kecil tetap akan diadakan.

Katanya, dia pesimis mengenai peluang Anwar mendapat pengampunan, memetik satu laporan berita yang Yang di-Pertuan Agong perlu bertindak atas nasihat Lembaga Pengampunan.

Lembaga itu terdiri daripada perdana menteri, peguam negara dan tidak lebih daripada 3 anggota lain.

“Saya rasa inilah sebabnya mengapa Anwar tidak pernah cakap beliau nak minta pengampunan diraja. Apa gunanya?

“Pilihan raya kecil tetap akan berlaku. Cuma tak tahu bila saja. Kita tunggulah, BN pasti akan kalah lagi,” kata Ishak.

Seorang lagi pesara Hamid Salleh, 65, dari Permatang Pasir berkata, peluang Anwar mendapatkan pengampunan diraja mungkin tipis.

“Lima hakim persekutuan itu sebulat suara mendapatinya bersalah… semua, lima-lima mereka. Adakah peluangnya lebih baik dengan Lembaga Pengampunan?” katanya.

Bercakap kepada The Malaysian Insider di sebuah kedai kopi di Penanti, Hamid berkata tidak kira apa yang diputuskan mahkamah, rakyat Permatang Pauh masih percaya kepada wakil rakyat mereka dan mereka yakin beliau tidak lakukan kesalahan seperti yang disabitkan.

“Semua ini politik, tak lebih dari itu. Rakyat tak percaya dia buat perkara itu. Mereka marah dan kecewa apabila sabitannya dikekalkan oleh Mahkamah Persekutuan,” katanya.

Hamid berkata orang ramai mungkin tidak lagi bercakap mengenai Anwar tetapi sokongan mereka kepada ketua pembangkang itu masih kukuh.

Beliau berkata, dengan apa yang berlaku kepada bekas timbalan perdana menteri itu baru-baru ini, sokongan rakyat mungkin lebih kuat kali ini, sekiranya pilihan raya kecil diadakan bagi memilih ahli Parlimen baru.

“Ini merupakan pilihan raya kecil ketiga diadakan kerana Anwar, tetapi tidak kira berapa kali ia diadakan, BN tetap tidak akan menang. Orang Permatang Pauh tahu, semua ini politik, satu perkara yang pelik di negara ini.

“Di tempat lain, sebaik selesai pilihan raya, ahli politik buat kerja mereka mentadbir kerajaan dan membangunkan negara. Mereka teruskan kehidupan. Politik Malaysia ini pelik,” katanya.

Di kawasan yang mungkin merupakan kawasan Parlimen paling hangat di negara ini, sambutan rakyat terhadap keputusan mahkamah memenjarakan Anwar hanya suam-suam kuku.

Tiada laungan “reformasi” seperti pada 1998 apabila beliau dipecat daripada kerajaan dan dituduh rasuah dan liwat. Keputusan Mahkamah Persekutuan 10 Februari lalu yang mengekalkan sabitan Liwat II terhadapnya tidak langsung menjadi topik perbualan rakyat di kedai kopi dan restoran.

Ahli perniagaan TW Tan, 49, berkata, pengundi tidak lagi ghairah bercerita tentangnya kerana mereka kini hilang minat terhadap “politik kotor” dan isu Anwar kini dianggap “membosankan”.

Pandangannya juga mencerminkan keutamaan rakyat yang lebih memberi tumpuan kepada mencari rezeki untuk meneruskan kehidupan mereka.

“Ini ‘Take Two’ (kali kedua), orang sudah tidak berminat seperti masa 1998. Kalau Pakatan Rakyat (PR) mengambil alih kerajaan persekutuan pada pilihan raya umum akan datang dan membebaskan Anwar daripada penjara, itu jadi ‘Take Three’.

“Rakyat dah jadi tidak ada perasaan. Isu Anwar sudah tidak begitu panas lagi selepas berlarutan lebih 16 tahun.

“Lebih baik untuk jaga perniagaan kita dan mata pencarian kita. Berniaga sekarang merupakan satu cabaran,” katanya yang ditemui di kedainya di bandar kecil Penanti.

Tan berkata orang ramai lebih mengambil berat tentang realiti hari ini, seperti isu ekonomi, kejatuhan nilai ringgit, Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) dan hal lain yang sering dibangkitkan PR yang membuat mereka mengkritik kerajaan pemerintah.

Seorang peniaga pasar di Sama Gagah, yang hanya mahu dikenali sebagai Pak Lang Mat, berkata tiada salahnya keluarga Anwar membuat permohonan pengampunan, kerana sudah tentu mereka tidak boleh sekadar bersabar tanpa berbuat apa-apa.

“Sekarang, kita juga ada isu dengan sistem kehakiman (kerana sabitan kes liwat Anwar). Negara lain pun turut bercakap tentang Malaysia. Kita juga dengar ada institusi yang digunakan oleh mereka yang berkuasa.

“Jadi, kalau negara asing pun bersuara, kita tak perlu berbuat apa-apa apabila kita percaya ada sesuatu yang tidak kena? Bukan satu masalah bagi keluarga Anwar mendapatkan pengampunan diraja untuknya,” katanya sambil menambah yang beliau juga tidak percaya Anwar bersalah sebagaimana yang dituduh.

Anwar, yang juga ketua umum PKR, kini di Penjara Sungai Buloh selepas beliau gagal dalam rayuannya membatalkan sabitan liwat dan hukuman lima tahun penjara di Mahkamah Persekutuan pada 10 Februari.

Kerusi Parlimen beliau sepatutnya diisytiharkan kosong selepas 24 Februari, 14 hari selepas dia kalah kes rayuannya, sekiranya tiada permohonan dibuat bagi mendapatkan pengampunan diraja.

Sebelum ini, peguamnya berkata, Anwar tidak memberi mereka sebarang arahan untuk mengemukakan permohonan pengampunan diraja.

Ada yang mengatakan sekiranya beliau berbuat demikian, ia akan menyusahkan kembali dirinya daripada segi politik, kerana ia boleh dianggap membawa maksud tersirat yang beliau bersalah dan ini hanya menguntungkan musuh politiknya.

Anak perempuan sulungnya Nurul Izzah yang juga naib presiden PKR, menjelaskan tindakan keluarga meminta pengampunan diraja dibuat atas dasar sabitan Anwar tidak mematuhi prinsip keadilan.

Menurut daftar pemilih Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya, sehingga November tahun lepas, kawasan Parlimen Permatang Pauh mempunyai 72,513 pengundi berdaftar dengan 51,032 Melayu (70.37%), 16,583 Cina (22.86%), 4,581 kaum India (6.3%) dan 317 lain-lain (0.43% ).

Dalam pilihan raya umum 2013, Anwar memenangi kerusi itu dengan memperoleh 37,090 atau 58.56% daripada 63,332 jumlah undi, dengan majoriti 11,721.

Calon BN Dr Mazlan Ismail memperoleh 25,369 atau 40.06% daripada jumlah undi manakala calon bebas Dr Abdullah Zawawi Samsudin hanya mendapat 201 undi (0.32%) dan hilang wang deposit.

28 February 2015

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Malaysiakini

Just the day before the Federal Court upheld the guilty verdict for Anwar Ibrahim and sentenced him to five years’ jail, Mahathir Mohamad told the media that Malaysia “is a democratic country”, and that ‘if people want Lim Kit Siang to be the prime minister, the constitution does not prevent him even though he is a Chinese”.

Yes, nothing in the constitution that bars any rightful Malaysian citizen from assuming the highest political office in the country, theoretically and legally speaking. However, having witnessed what has happened to Anwar and his family over the last 17 years, would anyone in his or her right mind earnestly believe Malaysia is indeed so free and democratic that he or she can rise to the top job safely and on merit?

Not when one is not part of the traditional elite within Umno. Then again, one does not need to make it on merit if one is in Umno’s good books.

Granted, Anwar was once a member of the entrenched elite, for several years the heir apparent to Mahathir. But his fall from grace was so dramatic and shocking that he has gone to the other extreme by becoming an icon of the people power.

Mahathir, too, was once an outsider within Umno, with no royal lineage and elitist educational background. But with brilliant yet cunning political maneuvering, he rose through the rank to become a tyrant, far more autocratic than all of his predecessors. His family allegedly became filthy rich on his watch, and the Mahathir clan is now very much part of the inner elite circle within Umno that decides Malaysia’s fate.

While Mahathir, Daim Zainuddin (right) and Kadir Jasin may not see eye to eye with Najib Abdul Razak on a host of issues, they have never been clouded from the fact that their common enemy has always been Anwar, for the vision that the latter advocates could turn the political structure carefully designed by Umno upside down and threaten the vested interests of its leaders.

Malaysia’s political culture has long been based on fear and feudalism. That Anwar and his allies have demonstrated their determination to change it is unforgiveable. If change came to pass, it would jeopardise the entrenched interests of Malaysia’s traditional elites, monarchists and the military, a reason why these powerful ruling factions of the ruling class were wary or even bitterly hostile toward Anwar.

Five years in jail plus five years ban on politics. By the time when Anwar is free to participate in electoral politics again, Umno will have ruled Malaya/Malaysia for nearly 70 years. It also means that the party will have spent nearly half of it persecuting one individual and his family.

World record indeed, and Malaysia Boleh!

Najib had always wanted to put Anwar in jail back in 2012, but with the general election in mind and fearing public backlash especially the non-Malay vote, he decided to set him free. As we all know, the electorate did not appreciate Najib’s ‘goodwill’ as a ‘liberal’ and ‘reformist’, but went on to deny him legitimacy in GE13 as his coalition lost the popular vote.

Perhaps no prime minister in Malaysia’s history has suffered so much humiliation and taunting by the people, who openly ridiculed him and his vainglorious wife. Once the election was over, his fangs showed.

What was the point of finding Anwar not guilty if the public remained ungrateful to Umno?

Now that Anwar is behind bars, I am pretty sure the Najib regime would use the next three years to “return happiness to the people” with all the goodies so that Malaysians would forget all the injustice done, just like Thailand under the current military dictatorship.

Are Malaysians ‘happy to be happy’?

But are Malaysians so forgetful and “happy to be happy”? Time will tell, although I am not hopeful.

Just before GE13, many ‘neutral’ and ‘objective’ (and elitist) pundits were arguing Malaysia’s judiciary was independent as seen in Anwar’s acquittal by the High Court in January 2012; they also said the Malaysian opposition had always had a fair chance of winning as seen in Kelantan, Penang and Selangor.

I hope these so-called ‘impartial’, ‘whack-both-sides’ elites can revisit what they wrote and do a bit of soul searching in the wake of the redelineation exercise in Sawarak and the Federal Court’s verdict on Anwar.

And of course the ‘moderate’ voices exemplified by none other than Marina Mahathir have been conspicuous by their silence on the utterly shameless verdict. They continue to go around the country and put up a good show about ‘moderation’ and ‘liberalism’; some have even been more than glad to seek the help of Mahathir who is anything but moderate.

However, when it comes to the insanity of Anwar’s sodomy charges which speak volumes of our rotten judiciary, these ‘moderate’ voices are nowhere to be heard.

And I understand why. After all, it was under Mahathir that judges were sacked for their bravery to defy Umno. More importantly, the Barisan Nasional government made an amendment to the constitution with serious but negative implications on the separation of powers. The Syariah courts were also given greater powers which resulted in the subsequent dual judicial systems,  now a bane for the country.

Therefore, it is hard for those ‘neutral’ elites to criticise the Federal Court’s decision last Tuesday, for they cannot do so without revisiting the destruction of our once independent judiciary under Mahathir!

In short, Anwar’s real crime is not sodomy, which was a farce from the very beginning, but his vow to challenge and dismantle the status quo. Little wonder that Umno, the business elites and the royal households have been frightened of the influence that he has had on the masses.

Still, it puzzles me to see Malaysia can remain so indifferent to a travesty of justice on this  scale. Anwar is no doubt a divisive figure and I never count myself a staunch supporter of his. However, if a man whose ‘wrongdoing’ is nothing more than a legitimate inspiration to lead the country beyond Umno should suffer so horribly and mercilessly, who else would dare to give it a try in the future?

I care not if a non-Malay would become prime minister; that is not an issue. The crux of the matter is no Malaysian will ever be safe from persecution should his or her legitimate ambitions be a menace to Umno, even if he or she is a true-blue Malay like Anwar, and knowing this fact alone does chill me to the bones.

27 February 2015

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TMI

It is the home minister and not the Attorney-General (A-G) who decides if Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim can attend next month’s Parliament sitting, Pakatan Rakyat MPs said today.

They said Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was wrong in stating that it was up to the A-G to allow Anwar, the Permatang Pauh MP, to attend the session.

“This is wrong and a blatant attempt to evade responsibility. The Prisons Department is under the home ministry and not the A-G.

“Only the home minister or the federal government has the power to allow Anwar to attend Parliament sitting.”Zahid has to agree to this and give the appropriate directive to the Prisons Department, ” said PKR’s Lembah Pantai MP, Nurul Izzah Anwar during a joint press conference with her PR colleagues, today.

Yesterday, Zahid said the matter of Anwar’s attendance at the next Parliament sitting scheduled from March 9 to April 9 must be referred to the A-G.

His stand differed from his deputy, Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who said the ministry would consider Anwar’s application.

“I beg to differ with my deputy minister who made the media statement, the case must be referred to the A-G.

“There is no need for individual opinions, whether among ministers or politicians, we have to leave the responsibility to legal practitioners especially the A-G to interpret based on the provisions in the federal constitution, and other clauses in related laws,” Zahid said.

Through his lawyers, Anwar had written to the home minister two days ago to request permission to attend the Parliament sitting.

Nurul Izzah, who is Anwar’s eldest daughter, cited Section 31 (1) (a) of the Prisons Act which states that the prisons commissioner-general can approve Anwar’s request to be in Parliament provided he is satisfied there are reasonable grounds for it.

The PKR vice-president then showed reporters an invitation from Parliament speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to Anwar to attend the first day of sitting which will be opened by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“We have written to both the Parliament speaker and the prisons commissioner-general on this matter,” she added.

PKR’s Batu MP Tian Chua said by convention, prisoners are required to write to the prison authorities if they wanted to attend important private functions like hospital appointments, funerals or weddings of close family members, and the home minister will decide whether to allow the request.

“It is totally wrong in terms of legal knowledge to pass the buck to the A-G. The A-G has no power to decide on the welfare of prisoners,” he said.

If Zahid refused to allow the de facto PKR leader to attend parliament, the PKR vice-president said the Umno minister should give strong valid reasons.

Anwar’s lawyer, N. Surendran, said Zahid was wrong to state that the A-G had to decide on this matter.

“Since when is the Prisons Department under the A-G? Zahid should not beat around the bush but should instead facilitate Anwar’s request,” he said.

DAP’s Teresa Kok said the eyes of the world are currently on Anwar’s case and Putrajaya’s handling of it made the ruling Barisan Nasional government look bad.

“The world is watching Malaysia… I hope the home minister can correct his mistake,” said Kok, who is Seputeh MP.

PAS’s Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said when Parliament convenes in two weeks for the first time this year, Anwar should be among the federal lawmakers in attendance and should not be prevented from discharging his duties.

“This is the will of the people. Anwar’s presence will ensure the interests of the people are defended,” he said.

On February 10, a five-man bench led by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria found Anwar guilty of having carnal intercourse with his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

He was alleged to have committed the offence at a unit of the Desa Damansara condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.

Anwar is still the opposition leader and Permatang Pauh MP after his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Nurul Izzah presented a petition for a royal pardon to Istana Negara on Tuesday afternoon, just before the 14-day deadline expired.

The Federal Constitution states that the seat will not be declared vacant until the Pardons Board has deliberated and made a decision on the appeal for clemency.

Pandikar also said Anwar was still an MP until a decision was made.

25 February 2015

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TMI

The Federal Court’s verdict in the case of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim vs. Public Prosecutor on 10th February 2015 marks the conclusion of a morally reprehensible persecution of a high-profile political opponent. The verdict symbolised a travesty of justice and a destruction of judicial independence.

The Malaysian Bar Council had expressed great doubts and referred to the “glaring anomalies” in how the verdict was reached. International reactions had also been rightfully harsh, as embassies and high commissions from United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, among many others, concluded that the verdict had sufficiently raised serious questions about the independence of the Malaysian judiciary.

We, as an international student movement named Malaysian Progressives in the UK, would like to make three key demands to the Malaysian government:

1.  Free Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim from prison

2.  Form committees to formulate reforms in the judiciary to uphold the universally cherished principle of judicial independence

3.  Address the serious issue of abuse of power by the executive body

Firstly, the Malaysian government should immediately free Anwar Ibrahim, who had been considered a ‘prisoner of conscience’ by the Human Rights Watch. It would make a mockery of the government’s commitment to human rights and make clear its political motivations if it continues persecuting one man for the past 17 years.

Moreover, committees must be formed to address judicial reforms as judicial independence remains a universally recognised foundation of any functioning democracy. We vehemently denounce the Federal Court verdict as the deliberate omissions and biased considerations of arguments had made the motivations of the judges questionable. The scales of justice are tipped and ordinary people suffer when judges are influenced by external pressures and not solely by their intellect and conscience. The people depend on an independent and impartial court as rights do only really exists if there is a functioning mechanism that can be trusted. Judicial propriety is how the public perceives judges’ behaviour, and confidence in the judicial system is not sustained when impartiality and independence are not observed.

Thirdly, the issue of abuse of power by the executive branch must be addressed. The executive should recognise the independent and constitutional position of the judiciary and have a proper understanding of what these entail. The executive branch must conduct its business without interference with the independence of the judiciary. Bitter memories will recall that it was none other than the executive branch that brought about the 1988 judicial crisis that witnessed a decline in public confidence of the Malaysian legal system with accusations of judicial improprieties, corruption, bias and judicial misconduct. The rule of law shall not face compromise for the political and personal gains of the executive.

Therefore, we stand in solidarity with Anwar Ibrahim and the rest of the world on the side of justice with these three key demands. Our grievances will culminate in a demonstration powered by Malaysian students across the United Kingdom and established international organisations on the 7th of March, 2015 at Central London.

25 February 2015

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TMI

Tindakan keluarga Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim memohon pengampunan Diraja kepada Yang Dipertuan Agong pada saat-saat akhir 24 Februari 2015, bagi hukuman penjara lima tahun yang sedang dijalaninya, tidak syak lagi merupakan kejutan yang tidak disangka-sangka kepada semua orang.

Sebelum ini beberapa pemimpin PKR, termasuk Rafizi Ramli dan Saifuddin Nasution juga menyatakan Anwar tidak bercadang untuk memohon pengampunan, sebaliknya kekal dengan pendirian tidak bersalah atas pemenjaraan yang dikenakan terhadapnya.

Sehubungan itu, menjelang berakhirnya tempoh akhir mengemukakan rayuan pada 24 Februari 2015, PKR menyatakan kesediaan untuk menghadapi pilihan raya kecil Permatang Pauh yang bakal diadakan nanti.

Umno juga mengharapkan Anwar tidak mengemukakan rayuan dengan menghebohkan ianya merupakan tindakan yang memalukan kerana ia dikatakan bermaksud beliau mengakui semua kesalahannya.

Lebih dari itu, Umno yang mungkin tidak meletakkan calon di DUN Chempaka berikutan kematian Tuan Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat, ternampak lebih ghairah untuk pilihan raya kecil Permatang Pauh di mana bukan saja ramai pemimpinnya sudah bercakap mengenai pilihan raya itu, bahkan peguam Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah juga sudah pun “turun padang” berceramah ke kawasan itu.

Bagi Umno, bertanding di Permatang Pauh adalah medan untuk menunjukkan keberanian manakala tidak bertanding di Chempaka adalah tanda berbuat baik dan ingin bercanda-candaan dengan PAS.

Tetapi dengan Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail dan anaknya Nurul Nuha muncul di Istana Negara petang 24 Februari 2015 bagi mengemukakan rayuan, semuanya jadi tersangkut dan kelam-kabut.

Rayuan ini difahamkan dikemukakan atas nama keluarga dan bukannya atas nama parti berdasarkan tiga alasan iaitu prinsip keadilan diketepikan, Anwar dizalimi dengan fitnah dan ketiga kerana berpegang semua pertuduhan adalah konspirasi politik.

Dengan petisyen rayuan ini dikemukakan, bermakna kekosongan kerusi Parlimen Permatang Pauh belum boleh diumumkan sehingga ada jawapan mengenainya. Jika setahun baru ada keputusan, bermakna dalam tempoh itu tiadalah pilihan raya kecil akan diadakan.

Ia juga bermaksud Anwar akan terus kekal sebagai Ketua Pembangkang dan Ahli Parlimen Permatang Pauh sehingga ada keputusan sebaliknya selepas itu.

Walaupun ramai yang beranggapan dengan mengemukakan petisyen rayuan ini bermakna Anwar mengaku bersalah atas perbuatan liwat yang dihadapkan kepadanya, tetapi ia tidak semestinya bermaksud demikian.

Mengemukakan petisyen kepada Yang Dipertuan Agong adalah sebahagian daripada proses menuntut pembebasan setelah semua proses mahkamah dilalui dan ia tidak bermakna suatu bentuk pengakuan bersalah. Adalah rugi jika peruntukan yang dibenarkan Perlembagaan ini tidak dimanfaatkan.

Lagi pula, tiga alasan yang dikemukakan sebagai asas mengemukakan rayuan itu bukan saja boleh diterima, bahkan bertepatan dengan pendirian Anwar selama ini.

Setelah petisyen ini dikemukakan, kini terpulanglah kepada Yang Dipertuan Agong sama ada mahu menerima atau menolaknya. Begitu juga berapa lama keputusan mengenainya mahu dibuat.

Namun, semua ini akan terus menghangatkan percakapan politik kedua-dua belah pihak iaitu Barisan Nasional dan Pakatan Rakyat mengenainya. Berbanding jika tidak mengemukakan petisyen dan kedudukan Anwar sebagai ahli Parlimen digantikan dengan orang lain yang mungkin menyebabkan dirinya tidak lagi penting selepas itu, sebaliknya sekarang ini Anwar kekal dianggap sebagai ketua yang boleh memberi pelbagai arahan dari dalam penjara.

Pertikaian mengenai siapa Ketua Pembangkang untuk menggantikan Anwar secara automatik tidak berbangkit lagi.

Sementara itu, dengan tertangguhnya pilihan raya kecil Permatang Pauh ini, apakah pula pendirian Umno dalam pilihan raya kecil Dun Chempaka tidak lama lagi? Kekal tidak bertanding atau bakal berubah fikiran?

Jika tidak bertanding di Chempaka dan lagak mahu tunjuk berani di Permatang Pauh pula sudah tergendala, Umno sudah pasti akan dilihat sebagai “parti betina” yang sudah hilang kejantanannya.

Apakah juga dengan adanya rayuan ini dan beserta dengan kemungkinan Anwar dibebaskan atas pertimbangan Yang Dipertuan Agong, ia turut berjaya meredakan banyak ketegangan dalam PR, terutama antara PAS dan DAP sekarang ini?

Di ketika yang sama, kerana Datuk Seri Najib Razak terus ditekan dalam Umno dan bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad terus kritikal terhadap pentadbirannya, petisyen rayuan ini juga menimbulkan semula persepsi adanya “ehem ehem” antara Najib dengan Anwar sebagaimana yang banyak diperkatakan sebelum ini.

Apa pun, permohonan petisyen rayuan di saat-saat akhir tetap dilihat sebagai “strategi luar kotak” yang difikirkan Anwar dari dalam penjara. Anwar nampaknya tetap berjuang dan tidak pernah mengaku kalah.

25 February 2015

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SMH

With the jailing of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim last week, Malaysia appears to have again resorted to dubious law to eliminate political challenges.

The prison term and the ban together bar the 67 year old from politics for a total of 10 years, effectively ending his political career.

This unfortunate practice has been seen in many Asian nations: Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore are in the unsavoury line-up.

All too often, the courts are used to shape the course of politics. Opponents and vocal critics are arrested, charged, convicted and jailed. Sometimes the courts are doing the governments’ bidding. Sometimes, it seems, the courts are trying to second-guess the desires of the nation’s rulers or to put their own (usually conservative) stamp on developments.

Whether at the government’s instigation, or acting on its own initiative, Malaysia’s highest court trod a regressive line on Mr Anwar’s case. Rejecting an appeal against his conviction on a charge of “sodomy” (having sexual relations in 2008 with a young man who had worked for him), the court upheld the five-year jail sentence handed down by a lower court last March.

Prison terms of more than one year in Malaysia also carry a five-year ban on standing for political office, effective from the date of release. The prison term and the ban together bar the 67 year old from politics for a total of 10 years, effectively ending his political career.

Critics around the world have deplored the ruling, the archaic law, and Malaysia’s failure to deal in a mature and responsible way with Mr Anwar, whose three-party Pakatan Rakyat alliance almost toppled the government at the last national election.

Ordinary Malaysians are increasingly fed up with the vast wealth displayed by the nation’s elites, by the abrogation of rule of law, and the rulers’ almost casual disregard of people’s needs. There is fear the rulers’ rampant greed is influencing their political decisions and Malaysia is the poorer for it. The ruling UMNO party, the United Malays National Organisation which has enjoyed nearly six decades of running Malaysia, is on the nose.

Pakatan campaigned in the last election as a clean player and one that would provide a long-overdue change from Malaysia’s usual system of entrenched patronage and corruption. Led by Mr Anwar, Pakatan won most ballots in the poll and the coalition was only prevented from taking power by the distribution of votes in Malaysia’s gerrymandered seats.

Since his sentencing, Mr Anwar has been no real threat to the Malaysian government. Locked up in a spartan jail cell (with a thin foam mattress on the floor and a squat toilet, according to his lawyers), his political career has been cut short, his ambitions stymied. A challenge to the government has been quashed. Yet the government insists the judges determined Mr Anwar’s guilt with no political interference and the independence of the judiciary was in no way compromised.

The Human Rights Watch monitoring group described the court’s verdict as a “travesty” and cited research that noted the discriminatory law under which Mr Anwar had been convicted had only been wheeled out seven times since 1938.

It’s almost impossible to tell whether or not the judges were entirely judicially impartial, or whether anyone from the government gave them a nudge, or whether they acted independently to rid the government of a vocal critic. In any case, the nature of the so-called crime and the hounding of Mr Anwar over the years has stained Malaysia’s reputation. The sooner that particular “sodomy” law is abolished, the better for the nation.

On the face of it, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak can now rest easy but he and his supporters should remember that Mr Anwar’s most vocal critics from within the ruling UMNO party may well now turn their sights on the Prime Minister.

With the threat of the popular Mr Anwar looming large, they stood firm behind the party boss. With that threat largely eliminated, these in-party critics may feel the leash is off. Certainly Dr Mahathir Mohamad, once a long-standing UMNO prime minister, has cast aside party allegiances to publicly excoriate Mr Najib’s performance and ask him to resign.

At the same time, the recent arrest of an outspoken political cartoonist known as Zunar, for a typically critical tweet slamming Mr Anwar’s verdict, has done little to reassure those international observers who doubt the government’s direction.

Using archaic sedition laws to silence critics such as Zunar is hardly the mark of a modern, moderate nation in charge of its destiny.

23 February 2015

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DW

Muslim intellectuals have called for their fellow believers to indentify societal failures and develop an Islam for the 21st century. Loay Mudhoon believes that Europe should unreservedly support this effort.

In a clearly formulated manifesto last week, four well-known Muslim intellectuals appealed to all Muslim political and religious leaders to stand up and support a democratic Islam. In their letter, they also laid out some concrete steps, among them a conference in France early next year that would “define the contours of a progressive interpretation of Islam firmly grounded in the 21st century.”

The four men behind this letter are Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford; Anwar Ibrahim, the head of Malaysia’s national opposition and chairman of the World Forum for Muslim Democrats; Ghaleb Bencheikh, the president of the World Conference for Religions for Peace; and Felix Marquardt, founder of the Abd al-Ra?man al-Kawakibi Foundation. They’re hard on their fellow Muslims and ask tough questions. In their letter, they call for a clear-eyed diagnosis of Islam’s current plight and want to develop a fundamental critique of Islamic culture and religion.

The authors rightly ask, for example: Why have the regular calls for “an Islamic Renaissance” largely gone unanswered? Why did the “uncompromising critical analysis of the Quran and the prophetic traditions,” launched at the beginning of the 20th century, not lead to a lasting Islamic path to modernity? Why are innovative reformers who are looking for a connection between modernity and Islamic norms and values often forced to stand on the edge of society, fighting a losing battle?

Crucial question

Given the current wave of violence undertaken in the name of Islam, it’s vital that moderate Muslims regain the authority to interpret the contents of their faith as soon as possible.

To achieve this goal, it’s essential to ask the crucial question: Who should be allowed to define what is considered “Islamic”? After all, Islam, unlike the Catholic Church, has no hierarchical structure and no ultimate authority on the faith’s doctrine.

The absence of such a central authority may seem to many intellectuals, in the West and elsewhere, as quite democratic and, in a way, fascinating. But it’s highly problematic for Islam because it allows lay theologians and bigoted hate preachers of all stripes to say their terrorist and barbaric acts have been “legitimized” by their religion – and thereby twist basic Islamic norms into absurdity.

To make matters worse, in many Islamic countries culturally parochial phenomena – like the Wahhabism that prevails in Saudi Arabia – are misunderstood as religious dogma, even though they have little to do with the religion of Islam.

Reforms needed

Four years after the Arab Spring, the hopes that a wave of democratization would wash over the Arab world have largely been disappointed. In that time, dialogues within the Islamic world – debates on the ways and concepts needed to solve pressing problems – have rarely taken place, if at all. The “Islamic world” itself does not exist as a unified political entity and never has. It remains fragmented, with the majority of Islamic states busy with internal conflicts and numerous proxy wars – and not with discussions about reform.

Since no substantial reform impetus can be expected from the Islamic world, this call to all “Muslim democrats” could end up having an epochal significance. Indeed, all Muslim authorities, reform-minded theologians and decision-makers should accept this invitation and attend the joint conference in 2016!

This is perhaps a historical possibility for Muslim democrats from around the world to develop a new, innovative recipe for an Islamic path to modernity. We urgently need a viable Islamic model, accepted by all, that supports the complex realities of pluralistic, multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies – including those heavily shaped by immigration. And Europe should strongly foster this process. It’s in the continent’s own interest – not only as an alternative to jihadism, but also because Europe sees itself as a community of democratic values.

18 February 2015

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The AG must admonish and revoke Shafee’s appointment as ad hoc DPP
Press Statement
18 Februari 2015

Lawyers for Liberty is shocked and disgusted by Shafee Abdullah’s continuous attack against Anwar Ibrahim since his conviction on 10 February by giving a series of widely published interviews and cumulating in yesterday’s X-rated and vile forum organised by Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

As we have stated in the past, Shafee’s appointment as ad hoc Deputy Public Prosecutor smacked of desperation and has set a bad precedent, sending the wrong message that the authorities would go to extraordinary lengths to secure the conviction of UMNO’s political adversaries.

Shafee is a well known UMNO lawyer and has appeared in court and advised in several matters that concern UMNO’s interests and has admitted so in his CV. He has acted and advised former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor, all known and bitter political adversaries of Anwar.

Like Caesar’s wife, Shafee acting as a prosecutor must be above any trace of suspicion. One certainly cannot believe without flight of fancy that he had afforded Anwar a fair trial. Shafee’s recent conduct merely reaffirmed his role as Umno’s hatchet man with a vendetta, out to character assassinate Anwar even as the latter is languishing in Sungai Buloh prison, unable to defend himself.

It cannot be over emphasised that the Public Prosecutor represents the State, the community at large and the interest of justice, and not UMNO. The purpose of a criminal prosecution is not to obtain a conviction but to place fairly and independently before the courts all available evidence to what is alleged to be a crime.

We therefore call upon the Attorney-General to admonish and revoke Shafee’s appointment as ad hoc DPP to prevent further public contempt and erosion of public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the AG’s Chambers.

Released by:

Eric Paulsen
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty

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