Malaysia’s Opposition on Trial

Anwar Ibrahim could be headed to prison again on trumped up charges. We urge the U.S. government to speak out on his behalf.

We come from opposite sides of the political spectrum and disagree about a great many things. However, one issue that brings us together is the case of Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia who is now leader of the political opposition in that country.

Mr. Anwar has been charged under very dubious circumstances with sodomy, a criminal offense under Malaysian law. If convicted, he faces a possible 20-year sentence—effectively life in prison for a man of 63. His trial, scheduled to resume next week, threatens not just Mr. Anwar but all those in Malaysia who have struggled for a freer and more democratic nation. It is also important for the rest of the world, because it casts a troubling shadow over the future of a nation that should be a model for other Muslim countries.?

Our views of Anwar Ibrahim have been formed completely independently of each other. We do not always agree with his views on foreign policy, but we do agree that as a political leader, statesman and intellectual, Mr. Anwar possesses qualities that encourage hope for the future. These qualities include lucidity and openness to debate and engagement; commitment to principles of accountability and good governance; and a serious concern for the future of his country and the world—not to mention his extraordinary courage in standing up for what he believes. We are convinced that he is committed to the values of pluralism, tolerance and freedom that are needed for Malaysia to flourish.

In the end, what matters is not our opinion of Mr. Anwar’s character, but the opinion of his fellow countrymen. Malaysians should decide for themselves, through an open electoral process, who they wish to lead them. They should not be deprived of that opportunity by an abuse of judicial power.

This is the second time that Mr. Anwar has been subjected to a politically?motivated trial on similar charges. The first time was in 1998, when as deputy prime minister and finance minister he dared to mount a challenge to then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed. Mr. Anwar was jailed, beaten severely, and condemned to years of solitary confinement after a trial that was a travesty of justice. That is not just our conclusion. It is the conclusion of the International Commission of Jurists, the International Bar Association, and a number of international human-rights organizations. It was also the conclusion of Malaysia’s highest court, which overturned the sodomy conviction in 2004, after Mr. Mahathir was no longer prime minister.

Mr. Anwar now leads the coalition of Malaysia’s three opposition parties, which won more than a third of the seats in the parliamentary elections of March 2008. This was the best showing that the opposition had ever managed against the governing coalition led by the United Malays National Organization, the party that has ruled the country for the past 53 years.

Three months after the election, Mr. Anwar threatened to call for a vote of no confidence in Parliament and take over the government. He was then arrested and charged again with sodomy. Like the charges 10 years earlier, the timing of these new charges carries the strong odor of political manipulation. And, if anything, the case against Mr. Anwar this time is even less credible and the violations of due process are even more egregious.

While Anwar Ibrahim is on trial before the state, the state is on trial before its people and the world. If he were to be convicted, the whole of Malaysia’s political life and its standing in the world would be damaged. And for what gain? The timing of the trial has led many observers to the conclusion that the objective is to stem the ruling party’s loss of popular support. Public opinion polls indicate that the great majority of Malaysians see the charges against Mr. Anwar as politically motivated. In any event, as Mr. Anwar himself would be the first to say, his imprisonment would not extinguish his cause. On the contrary, the movement he began a decade ago will continue to spread.

This is a pivotal moment in Malaysia’s history with consequences that are also meaningful on a global scale. With a population of nearly 30 million, Malaysia is not a small country. But it is also significant as an example of a Muslim-majority country making its way in the world. It has been able, over the first half-century of its independence, to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve economic growth while sustaining a degree of harmony among its religiously and ethnically diverse population.

In recent years, however, the country has been sliding backwards, with increasing exploitation of religious and ethnic differences for political purposes. The trial and conviction of Mr. Anwar would intensify these problems by destroying the confidence of millions of Malaysians in the possibility of justice under the law.

We urge our own government to make clear the importance the U.S. attaches to the role of the law in sustaining a political process in which justice and freedom are natural allies. We know from experience that sensitive issues of this kind are often best pursued quietly, government to government. But time is running out. A moment of truth is approaching.

Two days ago, a judge postponed Mr. Anwar’s trial in order to deal with charges of an improper relationship between a female prosecutor and Mr. Anwar’s accuser. This is an opportunity. Malaysia’s system of governance has the capacity to do the right thing—not only for Anwar Ibrahim, but for the millions of Malaysian citizens who look to him as a spokesman for their aspirations. We urge those in the Malaysian government who will decide this matter to act with wisdom.

Mr. Gore was the 45th vice president of the United States. Mr. Wolfowitz was deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005.

  1. #1 by rahmanwang on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 12:04 pm

    What do you expect from Malaysian judiciary?Chief Justice & judges are all controlled by Federal government.They are garbage out to put Anwar into prison.

  2. #2 by frankyapp on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 12:51 pm

    Guys get ready to see Umnoputras,warlords and Umno youth to street demonstration,the burning of Al Gore effigy and the US flag,perhaps president Obama’s effigy too the moment the US official makes some voice on this matter. And also be amused to see our PDRM just standing by with folded arms enjoying the road show.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 1:02 pm

    This is highly damning. As good as making it Wall Street (not the journal) consensus and what Wall Street decide, the rest of the world follows..

  4. #4 by son of perpaduan on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 1:05 pm

    Umno wanna annihilate opposition party once and for all.

  5. #5 by limkamput on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 2:07 pm

    In the end, what matters is not our opinion of Mr. Anwar’s character, but the opinion of his fellow countrymen. Malaysians should decide for themselves, through an open electoral process, who they wish to lead them. They should not be deprived of that opportunity by an abuse of judicial power.//

    Fellow countrymen are mainly nincompoops who know next to nothing other than constantly being reminded that their special privileges and position are about to be taken away. Why it is so difficult for us to dismantle this fascist regime? It is the powerful elites who are enjoying the privileges right now. The rest of the Malays are just being sized up to follow whatever this corrupted and abusive elites are telling them.

    Who are the Malays who buy bungalows and expensive commercial properties at discount? The ordinary nincompoops or the elites Malays? Why is it that seeking a change to a policy that only affected the interest of a few elites could attract so much attention and reaction? Simple, the elites have the money, power and connection to perpetuate their privileges for forever in the name of bangsa, agama and tanah air.

    Now more than 20 police reports have been made against Tony Pua. Soon may be he will be charged and sent to jail for sedition. The whole country should go to jail with him, seriously. We should all just sit still and refuse to do anything for a while and see who is going to feed this group of good for nothing farting racists.

    Let me remind you farting racists, even if you fellows own this country, the resources of country can not be automatically converted into goods and services if there is no one out there working on it. What do you racists do other than “governing” (and that also you fellows have a done lousy job in the past 50 years)?

  6. #6 by monsterball on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 2:53 pm

    I wonder do Najib and UMNO B low class ministers read and understand.
    Gore and Wolfowtiz are highly respected politicians around the world.
    Wait for headline news in papers.. that Anwar bought up some Jews…this and that…to get all the publicity. That’s all they can do for excuses to continue lying and lying.
    Right now…many thanks to Karpal Singh….fighting an impossible battle for Anwar.
    Najib needs to plan more provocations and throw more good news to the public to divert attentions. He has no other job functions …no power except to find ways and means to win 13th GE..and use millions to buy votes.OK long as the results favors UMNO B.
    Mahathir is smart to ask Najib what is “1Malaysia” now. He also said he is willing to testify in Ling’s case…knowing he will be summoned to court again. So he said this in advance…so that when he is summoned…he has already programmed minds in advance….that it was due to his willingness….and nothing shameful about it…to be a law abiding man.
    This old man…twisting and fooling Malaysians styles are repeated over and over again. Najib should know…when the chips are down…Mahathir will throw him and save his family. But Najib have no brain and the fact he is an appointed UMNO B PM is solely due to Mahathir…so he is forever indebted to the devil.
    Yes…to trace all events leading to what makes Gore and Wolfowitz are saying…you need to know UMNO B crooks can never change.
    They will fight on to the last day.
    Lets hope the last day is the 13th GE ballot day and not something else.
    Presently… deals..provocations..creating fear…race and religion politics…..hoping voters want peace and harmony and vote them in again and again. That has always been one of their master plan….creating fears and provocations..
    Meanwhile Liong Sik is the present side show.
    Enjoy it.

  7. #7 by monsterball on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 5:03 pm

    Another top UMNO b member with a lady…both shot dead or committed suicide…all headlines in Star paper.
    Why like that?

  8. #8 by monsterball on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 6:07 pm

    Mahathir supports Malay-rights NGO Perkasa that contradicts Najib’s ‘1Malaysia”….but “1Malaysia” is just a slogan to fool Malaysians.
    The flip flopping is making Malay NGO Perkasa and the slogan weak and nonsense.
    Mahathir keep hinting to Najib to apply second Operation Lallang..and govern like him.
    Najib said…’I am with you. I am people’s Prime Minister!”
    So if he backs out of his promise…he will be in big trouble..and if not…ALL are in big trouble and that is getting Mahathir mad..after Ling was arrested.
    Few cannot stand the agony and tensions and find swift way out…planning to run like hell or booom boom booom.
    Many UMNO owned company workers are planning to resign too.
    If UMNO B and Najib are such great and honorable party and PM….surely all these will not happen.
    God does not take sides in politics..but God do answers to prayers of people being bullied or side lined. God fearing humans have guilty conscience pricking them hard.
    However…the devil followers will behave like God fearing humans and keep doing the work for Lucifer. These devil reincarnated humans look like one of us…but they are protected by Lucifer…to appear healthy and strong to do the devilish work.
    We need to be serious to know..Malaysia is heading to hell…if we do not fight the devils in UMNO B seriously..with no fear.

  9. #9 by Taxidriver on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 7:08 pm

    UMNOB will twist the issue and say “Look, now we have the former US VP and State Secretary speaking-up for Anwar. This is a clear indication that we have not been lying to the people. Anwar is an agent of the US government and an ally of yahudi. We want to remind the US government to stay out of our internal affairs. Malaysia is a democratic country and our judiciary is always fair. If Anwar is innocent, he need not have to get a foreign country to help him because the court cannot find him guilty……”

    On possibility of a demo by Khairy and his mat rempit…..Hissmuddin will say ” we cannot stop anyone demonstrating so long as it is done peacefully……”

  10. #10 by lopez on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 7:48 pm

    where else can we find similar great leadership and eager statesmen for the future of their fellow men regardless of colour, creed and religion in bolihland …other than from the opposition parties to the current regime……of course in the US of A.
    Why do these great people need to speak up ….like what lick mamakli said so tak bolih tahan else other think he is not…whatever ..
    But we all know very well dat small fry has cross the line and yet dont even know it…how stupid.
    maybe also to make bralahim mamaali happy and feels has done something glorifying for his version of bolihland.
    So many a times we see in print and hear rhetoric speeches of the d- end coalition’s and their cronies and shoe shiners , and burung gagah, economiss, strategic analysick, lackof educationsick. and of course the little napoleans and all other under pay roll or hand outs
    comparing and defending deeds by them on everything and anything that seemed to look great and grand relative to their version of high standards and denying not the interest of others in bolihland , including the tak bolih tahan views of the world at large on how they prevent kemajuan and marginalisation of others or pendatangs as they like to called by them.

    so others also can see all their wicked wrongs on pretext for their version of rakyat and negara.

  11. #11 by Thor on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 7:58 pm

    We want to remind the US government to stay out of our internal affairs. Malaysia is a democratic country and our judiciary is always fair.

    What’s the nonsense are you uttering about, Taxi driver!
    You must be born only today!
    “Malaysia is a democratic country and our judiciary is always fair”.
    Says who???
    Fair to you and to Umno, I would say!
    You think Malaysian can help Anwar???
    You tell it to my foot!!!
    How many of you really knew that Mahathir was forced to stepped down as PM due to foreign pressure?
    If not because of foreign pressure, those Umno CC members would not have force him out!
    And, if not because of foreign pressure, Anwar will be in jail many moons already.
    You get it!!!

  12. #12 by lopez on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 8:10 pm

    dont drive too long , read properly….cannot understand high capacity lingo …for your own sake go refer to somebody first.
    bolihland education system is bad enouf,

  13. #13 by monsterball on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 8:21 pm

    Sometimes taxi drivers cannot think straight and that’s why they are taxi drivers.
    It is not that certain taxi drivers I talked to are giving opinions that are against mine…but it is their lack of respects for good people trying to help Malaysians ad twist that as interferences.
    It is like two people a huge giant..the other a small man…not afraid to defend his dignity..and come one bigger giant to defend the weak and helpless..and out come a taxi driver with license given by UMNO B to defend his bullying boss.
    So many taxi drivers have given Malaysia a bad name….one by one…license taken away….but I guess there is always one or two will never change..thinking how smart they are.

  14. #14 by monsterball on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 8:49 pm

    But majority Malaysian Chinese taxi drivers…are die hard DAP supporters.
    They have no choices before but know now.. they have the best opportunity…to throw Najib out..and live honorably as Malaysians.

  15. #15 by monsterball on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 8:57 pm

    When you have a crooked government…you need to be cunning and crooked to survive.
    Just look at Sibu Rajang Park Malaysian Chinese… and play dumb and give Najib what he is worth….playing his game and show all Malaysians how to do it.
    You can be sure..come 13th GE…hundred of millions will be thrown to voters.
    Take that. It’s your money…and not Najib’s grandfathers.
    Take that with pride and vote him finally shut Mahathir’s mouth and leave it to the new government to do what we want…or what they promised OR we will vote them out in 14th GE.
    Yes People’s Power must be the landlords..not UMNO B.

  16. #16 by Taxidriver on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 10:02 pm

    Thor and monsterball,

    Did both of you miss the openning line of my comment #9? What I meant was UMNOB will again try to fool the rakyat by talking nonsense such as those which I wrote. Please note the inverted commas and the word ”twist” Both of you should be pointing your guns in opposite direction and not at a poor taxidriver.

  17. #17 by Thor on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 10:17 pm

    Sorry to’ve put you on the wrong shoes, Taxidriver!
    I really miss out the exclamation mark.
    No hard feelings!

  18. #18 by limkamput on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 - 11:59 pm

    what can you expect of the loose cannon ball, forever cry father and cry mother without reading what others have to say.

  19. #19 by yhsiew on Thursday, 5 August 2010 - 7:31 am

    John Mallot has made it clear that a guilty verdict for Anwar means there is widespread corruption and cronyism in the country and that will further dent the Malaysian economy.

  20. #20 by k1980 on Thursday, 5 August 2010 - 9:01 am

    Had Al Gore won instead of George W Bush in 2000, economic sanctions of the type imposed on Iran and Cuba would had been imposed on Makaysia

  21. #21 by donng55 on Thursday, 5 August 2010 - 4:53 pm

    Putting Anwar behind bars just like that will be too Pyrrhic a victory for BN. Verbum sap!

  22. #22 by Mel_a_yu on Friday, 6 August 2010 - 11:42 am

    Once again, Anwar is not sure if he’s guilty or not. If he’s so sure, there is nothing for him to fear.

    But he’s smart. Before the trial resumes he goes and report to his masters in the U.S. And his masters make noise for him. So, when the trial resumes and if by destiny he loses and is found guilty, he can put on a sarcastic smile and say..”see, what my masters said was true, its all trumped up. You all still believe it? than you are all idiots.” And the poor, innocent, gullible Malaysian public will again be split in turmoil. Over one person.

    He has anticipated everything and all he’s interested in is his own survival.

    One day he’ll get it. Nobody will do it to him, he will do it to himself.

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