Author Archive

17 July 2016

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Today marks day 523 of Anwar Ibrahim’s imprisonment as a political prisoner.

Newest addition Anwar’s family

On the 4th of June, Nurul Nuha, Anwar’s second daughter gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Although it gave great joy to hear the news of his 8th grandchild, this would be the second time being blessed a grandchild since being separated from his family more than a year ago.

National Security Council bill

On the 7th of June the controversial National Security Council (NSC) bill was gazetted as legislation. The bill was initially passed last December but needed Royal Assent by the King before it becomes law. However in a surprising move the King requested amendments to the law that provides sweeping power to the Prime Minister and members of the security council to declare “Security Zones” which would accord authorities wide powers of arrest, search and seizure without a warrant[1]. This has caused serious concerns among opposition leaders and human rights activist given the track record on human rights violations by the government. The bill automatically becomes gazetted even without Royal Assent after 30 days of presenting it to the King[2].

Anwar continues to be hospitalized

On the 15th of June Anwar was again transferred to the General Hospital of Kuala Lumpur for health checkup on his irregular blood pressure and recurring back and shoulder pain. He was admitted for 5 days where he underwent medical testing and treatment. Following the transfer, Nurul Izzah, daughter of Anwar issued a statement lamenting the inadequate medical care on Anwar. Nurul Izzah questioned “..if the number of treatments given failed to improve his health, can they be considered adequate?[3].

She renewed calls for Anwar to be allowed to travel overseas for medical intervention and treatment, especially on the shoulder surgery that Anwar requires to alleviate the pain on his shoulder.

Lead prosecutor against Anwar appointed as human rights ambassador

Well known lawyer of the ruling party UMNO Shafee Abdullah[4]who contreversially lead the prosecution team against Anwar at the Court of Appeal and Federal Court level was appointed by the Foreign Ministry as Malaysia’s ambassador at large for Human Rights[5].

The announcement was met by criticism over the obvious attempt by the government to mislead especially the international community over their commitment to human rights. Human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy in the statement said “..(it) makes it clear that the government has little to no interest in fulfilling its obligations to defend human rights[6].

Shafee Abdullah is the same lawyer that was recorded in court to be in the house of the Prime Minister Najib Razak while Saiful Bukhari, the accuser in Anwar’s case, was meeting Najib Razak to seek for “scholarship” just days before allegation against Anwar was raised[7]. Anwar’s defense team has used this as a foundation that a political conspiracy exists.

This clear conflict raised many doubts regarding the integrity of the proceeding as Shafee Abdullah was later appointed special prosecuter to lead the case despite having many capable senior prosecuters at the Attorney General’s Chambers office.

500 days of prison

On the 23rd of June another sad milestone was passed as it marks 500 days of imprisonment for Anwar. Friends and family gathered at the residence of Anwar for an event to commemorate the milestone, breaking Ramadan fast together followed by Ramadan night prayers.

That’s all for June’s update. I end this email with a short message from Anwar wishing all his fellow friends and supporters Eid Mubarak. Thank you for your support and as always do keep in touch.

Best

Khairul

25 June 2016

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Kepada rakyat Malaysia, juga teman-teman pembangkang seperjuangan:

Walaupun dari sudut kecil di dalam penjara ini, saya tahu bahawa keputusan pilihanraya kecil baru-baru ini telah mengecewakan ramai. Saya tahu ramai yang menaruh harapan pada pembangkang untuk menyelamatkan Malaysia dari cengkaman rejim yang menindas, korup dan bankrap moralnya. Malaysia tidak punyai harapan untuk membina masa depan yang lebih baik buat rakyatnya atau untuk dihormati dunia di bawah rejim sedia ada, dengan seorang perdana menteri yang berada ditengah-tengah skandal kewangan yang mempunyai implikasi yang sangat luas dan melibatkan pelbagai negara.

Parti-parti pembangkang mesti mengambil iktibar dan bermuhasabah di atas keputusan PRK ini, dan memahami dengan amat mendalam kelemahan-kelemahan kita. Sekarang bukanlah masa untuk mencari alasan atau menuding jari.

Kita perlu sentiasa ingat bahawa kita mempunyai satu kewajipan untuk menjadi alternatif tulen buat rakyat. Ketepikan perbezaan dan perbalahan. Sampaikan keluhan dan rungutan dengan saluran yang betul; duduklah bersama untuk mengatasi dan menyelesaikan masalah.

Kebajikan rakyat dan negara lah yang paling utama; dan kita berkhidmat untuk rakyat. Kita perlu kalahkan BN dalam PRU14, kita perlu berjaya demi Malaysia!

Mereka yang tidak percaya ini boleh dilakukan dalam PRU yang akan datang, adalah salah. Tetapi untuk melaksanakannya, kita perlu bersatu. Ini bukanlah perkara yang mudah; kita perlu hadapi keseluruhan kekuatan dan taktik BN yang tidak demokratik. Tetapi usaha kita ini murni, walhal mereka hanya memegang kuasa demi kuasa. Jika kita bersatu demi rakyat, kita akan berjaya.

Message from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the recent by-election results.

To the Malaysian public, and my friends and colleagues in the opposition:

Even from this prison, I know that the results of the recent by-elections have disappointed many. I know the public have pinned their hopes upon the Opposition, to save Malaysia from the current oppressive, corrupt and morally bankrupt regime. Malaysia has no hope of making a better future for its people or of gaining the respect of the world under the current regime, whose prime minister is in the centre of a financial scandal of worldwide reach and implication.

The Opposition must look at this electoral outcome with humility, and take a hard look at our weaknesses. This is no time for excuses or blame.

Remember constantly that it is our moral duty to provide a genuine alternative to the people. Put aside all differences, put aside internecine quarrels. Bring up grievances in the proper forum; sit together and resolve matters.

Only the welfare of the rakyat and the country matters; and we exist to serve the Rakyat. We must defeat the BN in the 14th GE, we must come through for the sake of Malaysia!

Those who now think that this can’t be done in the next GE, are wrong. But to do so, we must all pull together. It is not an easy task; we face the entrenched power and undemocratic tactics of the BN. But we have a noble cause, they merely cling to power for powers sake. If we stand united and determined for the sake of the Rakyat, we will prevail.

12 June 2016

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Today marks day 489 of Anwar Ibrahim in prison. In May 2016 the trend of gross abuse of power by the Malaysian government continues while Anwar remains languished in prison for daring to fight for a change.

Suppression continues

The Malaysian authorities continue its crackdown on dissent. The Malaysian police are targeting billboards that have been erected nationwide calling for the release of Anwar.  Besides removing the billboards by force, they have also proceeded to investigate key figures using the draconian The Sedition Act for erecting the billboards. Amongst those investigated for the “crime” of erecting the billboards is the current Chief Minister of Selangor Dato Seri Azmin Ali.

Besides that the police are also investigating Nurul Izzah Anwar and Nurul Nuha Anwar, Anwar’s daughter and other party leaders for participating in a peaceful rally outside the Sg Buloh prison in conjunction with 1-year anniversary of Anwar in prison. They have been summoned by the police to have their statement recorded and are waiting to see if any official charges will be made.

The worrying trend of disregard of freedom of expression prompted Amnesty International to issue a statement late May calling “on the Malaysian government to end its blatant disregard for the right to freedom of expression and peaceful public assembly. The organisation also urges the government to take immediate steps to repeal or amend repressive laws including the Sedition Act 1948, the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 so as to bring them into line with international human rights law and standards”[i]

Cartoonist Wins International Award

Local cartoonist activist Zunar was awarded the 2016 International Editorial Cartoons Prize by the Kofi Annan Foundation in Geneva. Through his cartoons, Zunar is currently facing 9 counts on sedition and faces the possibility of 43 years in prison for courageously using his pen to question the excesses and corrupt practices of the ruling government. Among the charges was for his critic of the Federal Court decision against Anwar through his tweets and his constant usage of his cartoons to highlight many injustices including the case of Anwar.

After the award Zunar said, “Talent is not a gift, but a responsibility. It is a duty for me as a cartoonist to use the art as a weapon to fight unjust rulers. Fear and intimidation are the potent tools being used by the regime to scare the people. I believe, strokes of art can lead the people to cross the line of fear.”[ii]

Health

On the 9th of May Anwar was transferred to the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital for monitoring for 5 days due to erratic and high blood pressure. He was later transferred back to prison after his blood pressure stabilizes but his health remains a concern and requires constant monitoring. This marks the 4th time that Anwar has been transferred to the hospital in recent months.

White Paper

On the 23rd of May, Anwar’s legal team released a White Paper detailing the history of the Malaysian government’s persecution of Anwar[iii]. Please use the report to spread the information on Anwar’s case.

Case Appeal In Court

The Malaysian Federal Court rejected an appeal by Anwar to include new evidence appeared recently. Malaysia’s former national Criminal Investigation Department chief in a court appearance for another case testified that he was instructed in 1998 by the former Attorney General to fabricate evidence against Anwar. This new evidence would prove the validity Anwar’s assertion that there has been a deliberate political conspiracy against him plotted by the government. Anwar has since appealed against the decision.

I end this update with a warm message from Anwar, wishing everyone a blessed Ramadan, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar. Ramadan is a month we reconnect to our almighty lord Allah; by renewing kinship, remembering the less fortunate through fasting and charity and self reflection.

It will be the second Ramadan away from his family for Anwar since taken to prison. Take care and till next time, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

[i] http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/malaysian-authorities-continue-to-show-blatant-disregard-for-freedom-of-exp
[ii] https://www.zunar.my/news/zunar-awarded-2016-cartooning-peace-award/
[iii] http://perseus-strategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Anwar-White-Paper-5.23.16.pdf

4 May 2016

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Second International Conference of the World Forum for Muslim Democrats addressed critical issues facing the Muslim world, from the challenges of violence and extremism and refugee crises to Islamophobia and challenges to improve social justice and strengthen the rule of law. Bringing together experts and practitioners from Southeast Asia, Turkey, the Middle East and Europe, the participants offered diverse perspectives of the causes and solutions to these issues, calling for greater engagement, dialogue and participation by Muslim democrats in formulating and implementing solutions. The rich discussion over two days ranged in scope, but stressed three core themes:1) the central role that democratic principles and norms in areas such as pluralism, justice and inclusion play in underling sustainable solutions to the challenges in the Muslim world; 2) the vital leadership role that Muslim democrats must play in addressing contemporary challenges, from controlling the narrative about Islam and deepening dialogue to taking more active role in strengthening legal frameworks on refugee issues and in other areas of social justice. 3) Finally,  participants highlighted the need adopt new approaches to existing problems, be it moving away from primary focus on military solutions to ISIS to a more inclusive approach to refugee issues that brings in civil society actors. These discussions contributed to important ongoing debates in the Muslim world.

[Download : WFMD – Report FINAL]

30 March 2016

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Dear Friends,

Today marks day 415 of Anwar Ibrahim’s incarceration.

On the 10th of March, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighted Malaysia and the plight of Anwar Ibrahim at Human Rights Council’s 31st session. In the statement Prince Zeid said:

“In Malaysia, democratic space continues to be limited, with the Government applying “sedition” and other charges to an ever-widening circle of journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and critical voices. The enactment of the Prevention of Terrorist Act and the National Security Council Act, without proper human rights safeguards, and without transparent and consultative process, is also a matter of concern. The imprisonment of a former opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim – whose detention has been ruled arbitrary by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – is emblematic of a broader democratic malaise.”[1]

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on the 23rd of March adopted a strong and clear resolution for Malaysia and Anwar Ibrahim citing:

“Decisions on cases in Malaysia include calls for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to be released from prison following new information that his trial and subsequent conviction were not based on legal considerations. IPU is, nevertheless, pleased by assurances that Anwar Ibrahim would receive medical treatment by a doctor of his own choosing. The Organization, however, remains concerned by Malaysia’s amended Sedition Act and Peaceful Assembly Act which have been used against 19 other MPs exercising their right as parliamentarians to speak and assemble freely.”[2]

On the local front, Anwar was transferred to Kuala Lumpur General Hospital from the 15th to the 17th for follow up check up. While his general health remains stable, his shoulder injury necessitates surgery to alleviate pain and allow for full mobility of his right shoulder. He continues to be denied proper intensive physiotherapy in hospital – two to three times a week as recommended by shoulder specialists.

Anwar appeared in court representing himself for the first time on the 22nd of March. He was forced to act as his own counsel after the prison authorities restricted his access to lawyers to only one hour a week despite 16 on going cases in court. This serious breach of his legal rights makes it impossible for Anwar and his team to adequately prepare for his legal defence. He has officially made requests for access to the Internet and legal literature to allow him to adequately prepare for cases.

In the RM100 million defamation suit case against Malaysian United Indian Party (MUIP) president S Nallakaruppan, Anwar successfully cross examined and cleared his name as S Nallakaruppan denied vehemently uttering the statement he made against Anwar during the 2008 by election that was deemed defamatory. Having cleared his name unequivocally in court, Anwar withdrew his suit.

The following week, 27th of March, Anwar again appeared in court representing himself. This time for an appeal to the decision of the Royal Pardon Board. In February 2015, the family of Anwar applied for a royal pardon to the King of Malaysia on the 5-year sentence imposed on Anwar citing miscarriage of justice.

However the Pardon Board rejected the application. Anwar’s family is citing conflict of interest as the Attorney General (at that time the Attorney General was Gani Patail) sits on the Pardon Board. His involvement with Anwar’s case is well known, as he remains a key player in the conviction of Anwar in both 1998 case and the recent case.

The application itself was eventually held in chambers behind closed doors with no one allowed to enter except for the applicants. Lawasia and IPU representative, Mark Trowell,  who wrote in earlier requesting permission to be allowed in as an international observer remarked that although he respects the decision of the judge he went on to say “The international community is still interested and concerned about legal proceedings concerning Anwar Ibrahim” and the judge should have used her discretion to allow international observers.

The application was later postponed to 4th of April 2016 to allow Anwar to review the senior federal counsel’s last minute submission on the matter.

We thank you for your concern and support. We will try our best to update as time goes on. Meanwhile, we leave you with a video we recently released.

Family of Anwar Ibrahim

“I hope Malaysians will continue to push for institutional reforms, a change in the judiciary system and most paramount the Election Commission, and other genuine changes. Not only a change of personalities” – Anwar Ibrahim on the 28th of March after court hearing

[1]http://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=17200&LangID=E

[2] http://www.ipu.org/press-e/pressrelease201603231.htm

https://youtu.be/sJXhoEVufQE

11 March 2016

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UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ZEID HIGHLIGHTS ARBITRARY DETENTION OF MALAYSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER ANWAR IBRAHIM IN ANNUAL REPORT TO HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

 

Anwar only prisoner of conscience anywhere in the world mentioned by High Commissioner

 

Geneva – In remarks to the Human Rights Council earlier today presenting his annual report, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad focused on shrinking democratic space in Malaysia. He highlighted the ongoing imprisonment of Anwar Ibrahim, which he described as arbitrary, as emblematic of the country’s retreat from democratic principles.  His remarks, in full, were as follows:

“In Malaysia, democratic space continues to be limited, with the Government applying “sedition” and other charges to an ever-widening circle of journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and critical voices. The enactment of the Prevention of Terrorist Act and the National Security Council Act, without proper human rights safeguards, and without transparent and consultative process, is also a matter of concern. The imprisonment of a former opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim – whose detention has been ruled arbitrary by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – is emblematic of a broader democratic malaise.”

Anwar is a Malaysian opposition leader and a former Deputy Prime Minister.  He led a diverse opposition coalition, cutting across race and religion, to win 52 percent of the popular vote among Malaysians in the country’s 2013 parliamentary elections. He is now imprisoned on fabricated charges because he is a democratic threat to Prime Minister Najib Razak.  Amnesty International designated him a prisoner of conscience; the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined his detention is arbitrary in an October 2015 opinion.

Since his imprisonment in February 2015, Anwar has suffered numerous human rights and due process violations.  These include the consistent denial of access to adequate medical care and treatment for his existing injuries as well as new conditions that arose from his detention.  Over the last months, Anwar had been denied effective access to his lawyers as visits with them were restricted to only one hour per week, despite the fact that there are 16 ongoing civil and criminal cases. As such, Anwar has had no choice but to discharge his counsel and to represent himself in several of his cases. Psychological pressure is maintained by denying contact visits with family members who speak to him only once in 3 weeks via telephone across a glass partition.

High Commissioner Zeid’s strong statement of support joins others in condemning Anwar’s imprisonment.  US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Samantha Powers, called it an “unjust jailing,” and Human Rights Watch referred to it as a “travesty of justice.” The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union called in a Resolution for “the authorities to do everything possible to address this situation,” and the European Parliament issued a Resolution on Malaysia urging the immediate release “of all political prisoners, including … Anwar Ibrahim.”

9 March 2016

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Kenyataan Akhbar Anwar Ibrahim
9 Mac 2016

Kita sudah sampai ke peringkat di mana terdapat kesedaran meluas menuntut perubahan. Pimpinan Perdana Menteri Najib Razak dan sistem pemerintahan yang gagal mengendali permasalahan kritikal ekonomi Negara.

Terakhir kita perhatikan kedudukan ekonomi tambah gawat dan buktinya adalah dengan keperitan hidup rakyat.

Harga barang keperluan asas meningkat dan perlaksanaan GST bercelaru dan membebankan.

Kerajaan BN-UMNO tidak sanggup melakukan sebarang tindakan berkesan untuk mengurangkan beban rakyat. Umpamanya dengan penurunan harga minyak, kadar letrik milik IPP-kroni tidak diturunkan. Untung mereka meningkat ratusan juta ringgit setahun. Tetapi rakyat terpaksa membayar kadar yang tinggi.

Justeru itu saya menggesa rakan-rakan dalam Keadilan, Pakatan Harapan dan NGO-NGO untuk terus gigih menuntut reformasi sepertimana kita perjuangkan selama ini.

Press Statement by Anwar Ibrahim
9th March 2016

We have reached a point where there is widespread awareness of the need for change. The leadership of Prime Minister
Najib Razak and the system of governance has failed to resolve the country’s critical economic troubles. Lately we see that the economic situation has worsened, the undeniable proof of which is the increasing difficulties and challenges faced by the rakyat.

The price of essential goods are increasing and the implementation of GST is confused and burdensome.

The UMNO-BN government is not interested to take any effective action to reduce the burden of the rakyat. For example, with the reduction of petrol prices, the electricity rates charged by IPP-owned by cronies were not reduced. Their profits have increased by millions of ringgit annually, but the rakyat still pay high rates for electricity.

Therefore I urge my friends in Keadilan, Pakatan Harapan and NGOs to push on with the demand for the reforms which we have struggled for all this while.

3 March 2016

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Saya menyokong pendirian rakan-rakan dari masyarakat sivil, parti politik dan individu-individu termasuk Tun Dr Mahathir, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin dan lain-lain untuk menggembleng kekuatan dan persefahaman bersama seperti disuarakan oleh Ketua Pembangkang baru-baru ini.

Persefahaman bersama ini akan menumpukan untuk menuntut perletakan jawatan Dato’ Sri Najib selaku Perdana Menteri yang telah nyata gagal mentadbir negara. Beliau bertanggungjawab meneruskan tindakan-tindakan politik rakus, merosakkan institusi pemerintahan dan membebankan rakyat dengan kegawatan ekonomi yang berterusan.

?Pada masa yang sama, tuntutan perubahan ini semestinya akan melibatkan reformasi institusi utama dalam negara yang sudahpun retak dan parah di bawah pentadbiran Dato’ Sri Najib.

Selama ini kita mewakili suara nurani hati rakyat  telah berikrar untuk memperjuangkan pengembalian hak rakyat di sebuah negara merdeka dan berdaulat. Tuntas dengan kesedaran ini maka hak rakyat harus dikembalikan melalui sistem pilihanraya yang bersih serta badan kehakiman dan media yang bebas. Dasar ekonomi harus diubah untuk mengutamakan semula usaha ke arah pertumbuhan yang segar dan pengagihan kekayaan yang saksama.

Skandal 1MDB yang melibatkan Perdana Menteri adalah skandal terparah dalam sejarah dan turut menjejaskan imej negara. Ini hanya mungkin berlaku apabila terdapat pemusatan kuasa kepada seorang Perdana Menteri serta kegagalan institusi kewangan, keadilan dan penguatkuasaan menjalankan tugas dengan bebas.

Kita juga telah belajar dari pengalaman sejarah bahawa peralihan kuasa yang bermakna bukanlah peralihan tokoh semata tetapi perubahan sistem.

Justeru itu saya tegas menggesa rakan-rakan dan rakyat bersama dalam usaha ini tanpa membataskan ia sebagai agenda peribadi mahupun permusuhan peribadi. Kita harus merangka halatuju baru bagi menyelamatkan negara.

Anwar Ibrahim

3 Mac 2016

MEDIA STATEMENT

I support the position of friends in civil society, political parties and individuals including Tun Dr Mahathir, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin and others to build up strength and common understanding together as articulated by the Leader of the Opposition recently.

This understanding will focus on the demand for Dato’ Sri Najib to resign as Prime Minister as he has clearly failed to lead this nation. He is responsible for continuing to engage in selfish political acts, wreaking havoc upon administrative institutions, and burdening the Rakyat with continued economic crisis.

At the same time, the call for change must also necessarily  involve reform at key institutions in this nation, which have been badly damaged under the administration of Dato’ Sri Najib.

All this while, we, in representing the voice and conscience of the rakyat, have sworn to fight to return the rights of the rakyat in an independent and sovereign nation. Thus in line with this commitment, the rights of the Rakyat must be returned through a free and fair elections as well as an independent judiciary and free media. Economic policies must be reformed to refocus on fresh economic growth combined with equitable distribution of wealth.

The 1MDB scandal involving the Prime Minister is the most severe scandal in our history and has badly damaged our nation’s image. This can only happen when power is centered in one individual such as the Prime Minister, as well as the failure of key financial, judicial and enforcement institutis to perform their tasks independently  without fear or favour.

We have also learned from history that meaningful transition of power cannot happen only with a change of leadership but it also demands a systemic change.

Therefore I urge my friends and the rakyat to stand together in this effort without limiting it with personal agendas or personal vendettas. We must together chart a new way forward to save our beloved nation.

Anwar Ibrahim

3 March 2016

16 February 2016

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UK Parliament

That this House is very concerned about the continued imprisonment of Malaysian opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, who has now served one year of his five year sentence for sodomy; notes that his conviction and subsequent imprisonment on politically motivated charges has undermined Malaysian democracy and confidence in the Malaysian justice system; further notes that almost 20 opposition hon. Members and a number of activists in Malaysia are subject to legal proceedings, under the Sedition Act and other legislation, for exercising their legitimate political and civil rights; calls on the relevant Malaysian authorities to release Anwar Ibrahim, and in the interim, to ensure he is able to access appropriate medical care, including the medical specialists of his choice, even if that necessitates travel abroad, and access to his lawyers; and urges the Government to make such representations to its counterparts in Malaysia.

10 February 2016

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(New York, February 9, 2016) – On the first anniversary of Anwar Ibrahim’s incarceration on politically motivated charges, the Malaysian government should unconditionally release the former deputy prime minister and political opposition leader, Human Rights Watch said today. The Malaysian government should also ensure that Anwar can access appropriate medical services while imprisoned and facilitate necessary overseas travel to treat the serious ailments he reportedly suffers from in prison.

“Malaysia’s conviction of Anwar Ibrahim was politically motivated, and he’s already suffered through a year in prison from this travesty of justice,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Every day that Anwar is behind bars, confidence in the Malaysian justice system further erodes. The government should release Anwar and repeal the country’s abusive and archaic sodomy laws.”

On February 10, 2015, Malaysia’s Federal Court upheld a Court of Appeal verdict that Anwar was guilty of sodomy under the Malaysian penal code. Anwar was taken into custody and immediately began serving a five-year prison term. A request for a pardon was turned down in March 2015. An appeal of that denial has yet to be decided.

In November 2015, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Anwar’s imprisonment violated prohibitions on torture, or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Specifically, the Working Group found that an “adequate remedy would be to release Mr. Ibrahim immediately, and ensure that his political rights that were removed based on his arbitrary detention be reinstated.”

Police arrested Anwar on July 16, 2008, based on a complaint from Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, a political aide, that Anwar had consensual sex with him. The original trial was plagued with serious fair trial concerns, including the prosecutors’ unwillingness to provide defense lawyers with access to medical and other evidence against their client. Nevertheless, the High Court acquitted Anwar on January 9, 2012, ruling that DNA samples that were central to the prosecution’s case had not been handled or maintained properly and thus were possibly contaminated. The High Court judge said the only other major evidence was the alleged victim’s statements, which were uncorroborated.

The government appealed and on March 7, 2014, the Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal and sentenced Anwar to five years in prison. The appeal court hearing, originally scheduled for April, was hurriedly moved to March 6-7. The verdict and sentencing hearings were conducted on the same day despite defense counsel requests that they be given more time, including provision of medical evidence. The sentencing hearing was conducted after a one-hour recess on a day of proceedings that had lasted until 5 p.m.

Anwar’s conviction disqualified him from running for a state assembly seat in Selangor on March 23. Had he been permitted to run and won the seat, he would have been eligible to seek the position of chief minister of Selangor state, a development strongly opposed by the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

Anwar’s five-year sentence also carried a subsequent five-year ban on running for office after being released from prison under Malaysia’s elections law, which imposes a ban on anyone who is imprisoned for more than one year – effectively ending his elected political career. Soon after Anwar’s imprisonment, the multi-party Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance he had led fractured.

“Anwar’s conviction and imprisonment removed a major political threat to the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak,” Robertson said. “The conviction effectively removed a charismatic opposition leader, already in his late sixties, from politics for a minimum of ten years.”

According to his lawyers, Anwar suffers from serious health problems, including a major rotator cuff injury with torn muscles and tendons, which has not received proper treatment in prison. The lawyers and Anwar’s family raised health concerns for Anwar if he were to have the condition treated in an operation in Malaysia, and have tried to persuade the government to let him travel overseas for treatment. They have also sought guarantees that if Anwar did depart the country, the government would permit him to return and not seek to permanently exile him.

The anniversary of Anwar’s imprisonment comes five days before United States President Barack Obama is set to host a major summit with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the US. The invitation of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also embroiled in a major corruption scandal involving the deposit of hundreds of millions of dollars in his personal bank account, has provoked outrage within civil society in Malaysia.

“President Obama should not conduct business as usual at the US-ASEAN summit with Prime Minister Najib,” said Robertson. “It would be a betrayal of the people of Malaysia if Obama does not publicly call for Anwar’s release, and the dismissal of politically motivated charges for sedition and other crimes that so many activists in Malaysia face today.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Malaysia, please visit:
https://www.hrw.org/asia/malaysia

For more information, please contact:
In Bangkok, Phil Robertson, (English, Thai): +66-85-060-8406 (mobile); [email protected] Twitter: @Reaproy
In San Francisco, Brad Adams (English): +1-347-463-3531 (mobile); [email protected] Twitter: @BradMAdams
In Washington, DC, John Sifton (English): +1-646-479-2499 (mobile); [email protected] Twitter: @johnsifton
In New York, Mickey Spiegel (English): +1-212-472-8723; [email protected] Twitter: @MickeySpiegel
In London, Linda Lakhdhir (English): +44-(0)77-8969-2780 (mobile); [email protected] Twitter: @LLakhdhir

10 February 2016

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FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights

and its member organization for Malaysia

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) 

Joint press release 

Paris, Kuala Lumpur, 10 February 2016: Malaysian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, FIDH and its member organization Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) said today on the one-year anniversary of Anwar’s latest imprisonment. Anwar is currently incarcerated in Sungai Buloh prison, Selangor State.

“It’s time the authorities put an end to the persecution of Anwar Ibrahim and immediately and unconditionally release him. Any additional day Anwar spends behind bars is one more day of shame for the Malaysian government and further tarnishes its battered reputation,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.

On 10 February 2015, the Federal Court in Putrajaya upheld the Court of Appeals’ conviction of Anwar on charges of sodomy (Article 377 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to five years in prison. Anwar’s imprisonment was the result of a politically motivated prosecution and the ensuing criminal Court of Appeals and Federal Court proceedings failed to meet international standards for fair trials. FIDH observed the Court of Appeals’ and Federal Court’s hearings of Anwar’s trial.

In an opinion issued at its 73rd session on 1 September 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) deemed Anwar’s detention arbitrary. The UNWGAD called for Anwar’s immediate release and for his political rights to be reinstated.

On 17 December 2015, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that urged the Malaysian government to release Anwar.

“Authorities must heed the UN and EU calls, immediately free Anwar, reinstate his right to run for political office, and award him compensation for the protracted injustice he endured,”said SUARAM Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy.

FIDH and SUARAM reiterate their call for the Malaysian authorities to guarantee Anwar his prisoner rights – including the rights to receive adequate medical care in accordance with relevant international standards.

Anwar requires intensive physiotherapy for a serious shoulder injury, which has worsened since his detention. Anwar also suffers from various gastro-intestinal problems, chronic arthritis, and irregular blood pressure. His prison doctor has denied him timely access to doctors of his choice and necessary medical testing.

The UNWGAD’s opinion considered that Anwar’s treatment during his detention “may have violated the prohibition of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under Article 5 of the UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights].

Press contacts:

FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) – Tel: +66886117722(Bangkok)

6 January 2016

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

The Straits Times

The establishment of the Asean Economic Community means growth prospects for the new common market of 625 million people have never looked better. Rupali Karekar looks at what 2016 may have in store for five of the biggest economies of the 10-member bloc.

Last year was one that Malaysia will be keen to forget. Biggest trade partner China slowed down, global oil prices slumped, the new goods and services tax curbed consumer spending, and the 1MDB sovereign fund saga turned into a political scandal.

There will be more headwinds this year, say economists, with the same negative factors continuing to weigh on the economy.

The fiscal deficit may swell over the oil-price plunge, the political crisis surrounding 1MDB may worsen, and uncertainty over a successor to outgoing central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz is a concern, noted Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts.

“We assign a high probability that the fiscal deficit in 2016 will miss the target of 3.1 per cent of gross domestic product, given probable weaker corporate income tax and GST collection,” the analysts said.

Fiscal revenue will likely be hit by weak oil and gas revenues, with Petronas’ dividend contribution slashed to RM16 billion (S$5.2 billion) from RM26 billion last year.

“Higher palm oil prices will provide some support… along with continued government investment in the infrastructure sector,” BMI Research analyst Shuhui Chia said.

The open Asean market provides an opportunity as well as competition. Ringgit depreciation remains a concern due to rising interest rates in the United States and depreciation of the yuan.

Prime Minister Najib Razak may focus on 1MDB and politics, so attention on growth and the economy may remain diluted and tensions continue to simmer, Ms Chia said.

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