Three proposals on the anniversary of Anwar’s arrest and "black eye" to allay widespread public concerns that Anwar was not being treated fairly and justly by the authorities

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Today is  the first anniversary of the commando-style arrest of former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as if his Damansara Heights residence was the headquarters of an international  terrorist network, his detention initially  under the infamous Internal Security Act, and the near-fatal  assault in a Bukit Aman lockup  when handcuffed and blindfolded by the then Inspector-General of Poflice resulting in the notorious "black eye" for Anwar, Mahathir Mohamad and Malaysia.

The injustice of the Anwar Ibrahim case has haunted the conscience of Malaysians and the international community for the past 12 months without any let-up, and this is why over last night’s television and radio and in today’s newspapers, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers had been forced to continue to address the Anwar issue.

Mahathir yesterday continued to allege  that Anwar had "stage-managed" claims that he had been poisoned with arsenic for three reasons:

Mahathir’s allegations are most unwarranted and uncalled-for, as they would intefere not only with the administration of justice in  Anwar’s second trial but also with the independence, professionalism and integrity of medical tests and police  investigation into the case of Anwar’s arsenic poisoning.

When a Prime Minister can prematurely make such biased and prejudiced allegations about the case of Anwar’s arsenic poisoning, it is no wonder that Malaysians have no confidence whatsoever in police investigations into it and demand an independent Royal Commission of Inquiry.

It is also most unbecoming for Mahathir to allege that Anwar’s arsenic poisoning was "self-inflicted", when his allegation last September that Anwar’s "black eye" was "self-inflicted" in order to gain political mileage had been proven false and the Prime Minister has yet to admit the injustice and falsity  of his allegation or to publicly apologise  to Anwar for such a malicious allegation.

Last night, another Cabinet Minister, Rural Development  Minister, Datuk Anuar Musa went on television and echoed the earlier charges  by Mahathir and his Cabinet colleagues like the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.  Ling Liong Sik and the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz to denounce the 14-day delay in making public the medical report on Anwar’s arsenic poisoning.

Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has explained numerous times that there had been  no  14-day delay in disclosing the results of  Anwar’s urine test, which showed a high level of arsenic content, and that the medical report was presented to the High Court the very next day she received it, and it is most shocking that  a Cabinet Minister like Anuar Musa can continue to purvey lies and falsehoods on television  on this issue without any sense of responsibility or shame!

Mahathir’s statement yesterday that  "There may be some evidence of arsenic poisoning but when  you take shell fish you get arsenic in your urine" is most unbelievable. Is the Prime Minister suggesting that Anwar’s eating of shell fish was the cause for the arsenic content, or does he want the medical tests and police investigations to come to such a conclusion?

 Even more unbelievable was Mahathir’s comment on  the recent arrest of Awwar's former family driver  Azizan Abu Bakar for khalwat (close proximity), that he  believed somebody was watching Azizan closely.

 "I think all will be done to discredit this witness," he said of  Azizan, a prosecution witness in the corruption trial of Anwar.

These  biased comments of Mahathir can only fortify widespread public concerns that Anwar cannot expect justice and fair play so long as Mahathir is the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The statements by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi are also not allaying public concerns about justice and fair play for Anwar or enhancing public credibility in the government.

Abdullah’s attempt to paint the picture that Anwar  is receiving VIP "five-star" treatment in prison,  that Anwar's prison room is "bigger than the living room of a low-cost house", and has an attached bathroom, bed and  window is not making any public impression, especially as Malaysians can see with their own eyes Anwar’s gaunt and emaciated appearance when he was admitted to Universiti Kebangsaan Hospital ten days ago  for arsenic poisoning.

Abdullah should allow MPs and the mass media, both local and international, access to Anwar’s prison cell if it is true that Anwar is receiving special VIP treatment in prison.

If a person who is supposedly receiving special VIP treatment in prison can become so gaunt and emaciated after one year in prison, the fate of other prisoners can be imagined - and this is why I have said publicly that Malaysia’s treatment of prisoners do not meet with the minimum international standards.

If four days after Anwar was  assaulted to nearly an inch of his life  a year ago, and denied all medical attention during the interval, the government could publicly declare that Anwar was "safe and sound", could the public be blamed if they are very cynical when the government claims that Anwar is receiving special VIP treatment in prison?

Recently, Malaysians were told that despite being admitted to hospital for check-up on arsenic poisoning, Anwar was in "good condition". This morning, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital faxed a letter to court to certify that Anwar was "not yet fit to attend  court" due to continued tests and health problems.

The letter said: "The detailed examination with regards to the arsenic posioning is not complete and his presence in court will make it difficult for us to finish the tests.  Secondly, we find he has some health problems such as high blood pressure although it comes down when he's standing. We have also detected problems with his lungs through clinical X-rays and CT-scans and he  needs to be examined by chest experts."

Under these circumstances, the authorities concerned particularly the police should understand and sympathise as to why there are widespread public concerns that Anwar Ibrahim is not getting any justice and fair play, including investigations into his arsenic poisoning.

I wish to make three proposals on  the anniversary of Anwar’s arrest and "black eye" to allay widespread public concerns that Anwar was not being treated fairly and justly by the authorities and restore public confidence in the institutions of government in Malaysia:


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