Mahathir should explain what iron-clad guarantees he want to ensure Anwar will not flee in order to  allow the latter  to go to Munich for specialist back surgery

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad  on Wednesday accused his jailed former deputy, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, of trickery and trying to flee Malaysia by seeking spinal surgery overseas.

'If he goes, he will not return,' the premier told a public rally organised by the Viewers, Listeners and Reader Club in Gombak which was telecast live. 'We know why he wants to leave the country.'

At last, Mahathir has given the real reason why the government is denying Anwar permission to go overseas for specialist back surgery.

All the reasons which had been given by the various Ministers were just “red herrings”, and the biggest “red herring” of all was the  statement by the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng suggesting  that Anwar would be unpatriotic, anti-national and disloyal  if he does not dispense with the services of Dr. Thomas Hoogland after he had committed the sin of 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.

Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that there was no reason for Anwar to ask to go overseas because Malaysian medical experts say the operation can be performed in Malaysia.

Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said Anwar was disallowed from undergoing spinal surgery abroad "as he is still a prisoner convicted under our law", making it "unreasonable to transfer or give permission for him to be out of the country".

Now that the real reason why Mahathir and the government does not allow Anwar to go to Munich for specialist back surgery is out into the open, Mahathir should state  what iron-clad guarantees he want before allowing Anwar to go overseas for specialist back surgery.

I have no doubt that Anwar and Datin Seri Dr.  Wan Azizah Wan Ismail can work out such iron-clad guarantees with the authorities satisfactory to all parties concerned, including the Prime Minister himself.

I am sure the assistance of the German government could also be sought to facilitate the fulfilment of such iron-clad guarantees.

If my services are required to work out such iron-clad guarantees, I am always available.

In this connection, the front-page report in today’s Utusan Malaysia entitled “Bekas Duta Amerika hadiri pertemuan sulit Keadilan” in connection with the Keadilan’s briefing for the diplomatic corps and NGOs leaders on Anwar’s health situation  at Shah Motel, Petaling Jaya yesterday is most unfortunate in containing false news, an offence under the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

Utusan Malaysia reported that among opposition leaders who attended this “secret briefing” were DAP Secretary-General Kerk Kim Hock and myself. I want to categorically deny attending any such Keadilan briefing on Anwar’s health situation at the hotel yesterday, and we are seriously considering lodging police reports against the Utusan Malaysia for the offence of  publishing “false news”, as the report carried the serious insinuation that the Opposition leaders were disloyal in consorting with foreign powers to work against the national  interests of Malaysia.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman