The statement by the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng yesterday, trying to suggest that Anwar was not being patriotic if he does not dispense with the services of Dr. Thomas Hoogland and his unethical distortion of Dr. Hoogland's recommendation into an attack on Malaysia as a "banana republic", Malaysia's healthcare system and the nation's anaesthetists is the most shameless attempt to politicize what should be a pure medical problem, especially as the government must bear full responsibility for Anwar's health problem caused by the outrageous assault on the former Deputy Prime Minister by the then Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor when in police custody within an inch of Anwar's life and giving Anwar and the country the infamous "black-eye".
Cabinet Ministers and government leaders must be conscious of the need to conduct themselves with propriety and civility on the international stage in the era of information technology and globalisation, where every act and statement of theirs is subject to international scrutiny and affects the world judgement on Malaysia's proper place in the civilized community of nations.
Whether Anwar is a prisoner or not is a secondary issue to his right to get the best medical treatment for his physical condition which the government must bear full responsibility because of the assault by the former Inspector-General of Police as well as the United Nations rule that every prisoner is entitled to the best medical treatment available.
The Cabinet should end all the politicking over Anwar's health problem and allow Anwar to undergo endoscopic spinal surgery at Dr. Hoogland's Munich clinic so that he could have the best medical treatment available.
I can understand if the Cabinet wants to have ironclad guarantees that Anwar would return to the country and would not abscond oversLeas as nothing would frighten the Barisan Nasional government more than to have the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad's nemesis at large on the world stage actively campaigning for far-reaching political, economic, educational and nation-building reforms in Malaysia.
I fully agree that the government must be satisfied about iron-clad guarantees that Anwar will return home to the Sungei Buloh Prison after his specialist back surgery in Munich - but this is something for the government authorities to work out with Anwar and Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
I am sure Anwar would give a personal guarantee that he would not abscond overseas and Azizah can give ironclad guarantees that Anwar would return home after his specialist back surgery in Munich.