DAP calls for independent public  inquiry into the  health and prison treatment of Anwar Ibrahim to allay national and international concerns about his health and safety

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi said yesterday that clinical tests done locally and abroad so far show that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is not suffering from arsenic poisoning.

Home Minister Abdullah said he was awaiting a full report from the hospital and added:  "Upon completion of the (full) test report, we'll be able to know. We can't lie."

The tragedy in  Malaysia today is that the government’s credibility gap has become so vast that less and less Malaysians believe it is incapable of misleading the people, whether with falsehoods or downright lies.

In refusing to accede to widespread demands for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the allegation of arsenic poisoning of the former Deputy Prime Minister, the Barisan Nasional government has only itself to blame if its declaration that clinical tests show no arsenic poisoning of Anwar is not received with instant and universal belief.

Abdullah had in fact gone against his own earlier advice to all groups including those in the government to wait for the outcome of the probe being conducted by the authorities before making any comment on the Anwar Ibrahim poison issue.
As Abdullah has admitted yesterday, he has not yet received the full report of the medical tests, but he has jumped the gun to announce to the world that Anwar is not suffering from arsenic poisoning - underlining the fact that the Deputy Prime Minister was more interested in pursuing a political agenda when he should have waited for the announcement of the full  results of the medical tests by the proper authorities and channels.

Malaysians want answers to  two specific questions concerning the allegation of the arsenic poisoning of Anwar:

Firstly, was Anwar suffering from arsenic poisoning on Sept. 10 when the Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered medical examinations and tests to be conducted on Anwar following discovery of a  high level of arsenic in his body.

Secondly, was Anwar suffering from arsenic poisoning on August 16 when his urine sample was taken by Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and which was analysed  by a reputable Melbourne laboratory as having a high level of arsenic content.

Have the clinical tests prematurely announced by Abdullah categorically established that Anwar was not suffering from arsenic poisoning in both instances, whether on Sept. 10 or August 16, bearing in mind that in  cases of chronic as distinct from acute arsenic poisoning, arsenic levels in the body can fall with passage of time.

To allay national and international concerns about Anwar’s health and safety, DAP calls for an independent public inquiry into Anwar’s health and prison condition.  Such an inquiry should later be broadened out into a full-scale inquiry into the  general prison conditions for all prisoners to ensure they conform with minimum international standards for prisons.

Yesterday’s press reports that former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Ghafar Baba would not seek re-election in the next general election triggered public memory on the character-assassination of Anwar when he  was sacked from government and UMNO in September last year.

Ghafar Baba was the first UMNO leader to openly attack Anwar as a "foreign agent" just days before he was sacked. Immediately after Anwar’s sacking, Ghafar repeated his allegation that Anwar was a "foreign agent" of outside powers to topple Mahathir and derail the economic recovery and said:

"He (Anwar)  was getting help from foreign collaborators. Wait until Anwar's trial. Everything will come out on how he received help and how foreign powers were trying to push out Mahathir after their success in Indonesia."

The prolonged trials of Anwar in the past one year have not produced one iota of  evidence that Anwar is a "foreign agent"  out to destroy the  Malaysian economy or our national sovereignty, and in such circumstances, can the Barisan Nasional government blame Malaysians if they are very skeptical about all its claims and pronouncements relating to Anwar, including the allegation of arsenic poisoning?


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong