Although the conviction is not unexpected and even the heavy nine-year jail sentence is not totally unthinkable, their announcements could not dull the sense of outrage and despair of many Malaysians who had hoped that basic decency and elementary justice would govern Malaysian public life.
The long-running trial of Anwar Ibrahim is no less than the long-running trial of Malaysia. Today is a sad day, a black day, for democracy and justice in Malaysia.
The Socialist International Asia-Pacific Committee, which was opened and attended by the New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clarke, was shocked by news of Anwar's conviction and sentence at the close of the proceedings.
The Socialist Internatiodnal Asia-Pacific Committee meeting, which was attended by member parties in the region, including the ruling parties of New Zealand, Mongolia and Nepal as well as the ousted ruling Fijian Labour Party (led by the elected Prime Minister Mahenedra Chaudhry), representatives from member parties from Japan, India, Pakistan, Philippines, France, Italy, Sweden and guests including Nobel Prize Laureate and East Timor Foreign Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, adopted a joint statement expressing its "dismay" at Anwar's conviction and nine-year jail sentence today.
The Socialist International statement, which dealt with the problem of democracy, social justice and economic development in the region, made the following reference to Malaysia: