Dato’ Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim (born August 10, 1947) is a Malaysian politician who served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1993 to 1998. Early in his career, he became a protégé of the Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, but subsequently emerged as the most prominent critic of Mahathir’s administration.

In 1999, he was sentenced in a highly controversial trial to six years in prison for corruption, and in 2000, to another nine years for alleged homosexual acts. However, in 2004, Malaysia’s highest court, the Federal Court reversed the second conviction and he was released. In July of 2008, he was arrested over allegations he sodomised a male aide.

Anwar is the only Malaysian to ever make it into Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.[1] He is also one of the signatories of A Common Word Between Us and You, an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders, calling for peace and understanding.

Early years

Anwar was born in Cherok Tok Kun, a village on the mainland side of the northern Malaysian state of Penang, to a hospital porter, Ibrahim Abdul Rahman (later to join politics and retire as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health) and Che Yan, a housewife (and later UMNO politician). He was educated at University of Malaya, where he read Malay Studies. Prior to that, he took his secondary education at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar.

From 1968 to 1971, as a student, Anwar was the president of a Muslim students organisation, Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia (PKPIM). He was one of the protem committee of Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) or Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia which was founded in 1971. He was also elected President of the Malaysian Youth Council or Majlis Belia Malaysia (MBM). In 1974, Anwar was arrested during student protests against rural poverty and hunger. He was imprisoned under the Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial, and spent 20 months in the Kamunting Detention Centre for political prisoners.

Groomed for leadership

In 1968-1971, he was first groomed in the National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students (Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia, PKPIM) as the president of the Union. He was very well known as one of the most prominent student movement leaders. In 1982, Anwar, who was the founding leader and second president of a youth Islamic organisation called Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM), shocked his liberal supporters by joining the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), led by Mahathir bin Mohamad, who became prime minister in 1981. He moved up the political ranks quickly: his first ministerial office was that of Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in 1983; after that, he headed the agriculture ministry in 1984 before becoming Minister of Education in 1986. By then, speculation was rife about Anwar’s ascent to the Deputy Prime Minister’s position as it was a commonly-occurring phenomenon in Malaysia for the Education Minister to assume the position of Deputy PM in the near future.

During his tenure as Education Minister, Anwar introduced numerous pro-Malay policies in the national school curriculum. One of the major changes that he did was to rename the national language from Bahasa Malaysia to Bahasa Melayu. Non-Malays criticized this move as it would cause the younger generation to be detached from the national language, since they would attribute it to being something that belongs to the Malays and not to Malaysians.

U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (right) meets with Anwar Ibrahim (left) in his Pentagon office.

U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (right) meets with Anwar Ibrahim (left) in his Pentagon office.

In 1991 Anwar was appointed Minister of Finance. In 1993, he became Mahathir’s Deputy Prime Minister after winning the Deputy Presidency of UMNO against Ghafar Baba. Anwar was being groomed to succeed Mahathir as prime minister, and frequently alluded in public to his “son-father” relationship with Mahathir; in early 1997, Mahathir appointed Anwar to be acting Prime Minister while he took a two-month holiday. Towards the end of the 1990s, however, their relationship began to deteriorate, triggered by their conflicting views on governance. In Mahathir’s absence, Anwar had taken steps to improve the country’s governing mechanisms which were in direct conflict with Mahathir’s protectionist policies. Issues such as how Malaysia would respond to a financial crisis were often at the forefront of this conflict.

Anwar’s frontal attack against what he described as the widespread culture of nepotism and cronyism within UMNO (and the ruling coalition as a whole) angered Mahathir, as did his attempts to dismantle the protectionist policies that Mahathir had set up. “Cronyism” was identified by Anwar as a major cause of corruption and misappropriation of funds in the country. Mahathir retaliated by isolating Anwar within UMNO. The events of late-1998 marked the beginning of Anwar’s descent within UMNO and his subsequent ouster from the party and from Malaysian politics.

Financial crisis

During the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 Anwar, in his capacity as finance minister, supported the International Monetary Fund (IMF) plan for recovery, which meant a restructuring of the economy involving opening up to greater foreign investment and competition. He also instituted an austerity package that slashed government spending by 18%, cut ministerial salaries and deferred major investment projects. Large-scale infrastructure development projects known as “mega projects” were set back as well, despite being a cornerstone of Mahathir’s plans for developing the nation. These measures aroused bitter opposition from Mahathir.

Although many Malaysian companies faced the threat of bankruptcy, Anwar declared: “There is no question of any bailout. The banks will be allowed to protect themselves and the government will not interfere.” Anwar advocated a free market approach, sympathetic to foreign investment and trade liberalisation, whereas Mahathir favored currency and foreign investment controls, blaming unchecked speculation by currency speculators like George Soros for the shrinking economy.[citation needed] There is disagreement among economists whether Anwar’s policies would have been more or less successful than Mahathir’s; however, most denounced Mahathir’s hypothesis that George Soros was to blame. Economists proposed currency controls before the Malaysian currency, the ringgit, slid further, but their advice was not taken.[citation needed] By the time Mahathir decided to impose currency controls and preventive measures to keep hedge funds in check, the Malaysian economy had plummeted to its lowest level yet since the recession of the early-1980s.

In 1998 Newsweek magazine named Anwar the “Asian of the Year.” However, in that year, matters between Anwar and Mahathir came to a head around the time of the quadrennial UMNO General Assembly. The Youth wing of UMNO, headed by Anwar’s associate, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, gave notice that it would initiate a debate on “cronyism and nepotism”. The response was swift, as Mahathir issued lists of cronies who had benefited from government share allocations and privatisations. To the chagrin of Anwar and his allies, several of them were on the list, including Anwar and Zahid.

Anwar continued his assault on what he called the rampant corruption within Mahathir’s administration, by attempting to impose transparent audits on major conglomerates and business empires, which, he alleged, had been overcharging for government projects and evading taxes. One of the potential victims would have been Mahathir’s son, Mirzan Mahathir, who was a director in almost 100 private and Government-linked companies. Conglomerates that were closely linked to the government, such as Renong, would have been adversely affected as well.

Allegations

At the UMNO General Assembly, a book, 50 Dalil Kenapa Anwar Tidak Boleh Jadi PM (“50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become Prime Minister”) was circulated containing graphic sexual allegations as well as accusations of corruption against Anwar. This book carried the byline Khalid Jafri, an ex-editor of the government-controlled newspaper Utusan Malaysia and former editor-in-chief of a failed magazine, Harian National. Anwar obtained a court injunction to prevent further distribution of the book and filed a defamation action against the author. In August, police charged the author of the book with malicious publishing of false news. In September, the judge who had banned the book’s distribution was transferred to a lower court despite being a senior judge.

Among the allegations in the book was that Anwar is homosexual and a serial adulterer. The police were instructed to investigate the veracity of the claims. The author died in 2005 of complications from diabetes, but not before the High Court found that he had committed libel and awarded Anwar millions of ringgit in compensation.

Recently, the former deputy President of Anwar’s political party, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, lambasted Anwar for his close ties to Paul Wolfowitz, the former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense and former president of the World Bank. In an interview with the BBC‘s Hardtalk after his release from prison, Anwar admitted to his friendship with Wolfowitz. This allegation has repercussions in Malays, who have been found to generally agree with the statement by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir, that the U.S.-led “war on terror” is actually a “war on Islam”.[2]

Trial and conviction

Anwar was fired from the Cabinet in September, amid police reports that he was under investigation. The following day, he was expelled from UMNO. Dr. Munawar Anees, Anwar’s former speechwriter, and Sukma Darmawan Sasmita Atmadja, Anwar’s adoptive brother, were arrested under suspicion of engaging in homosexual acts. Five days later, they were given a jail sentence of six months after pleading guilty to “unnatural sex” with Anwar. They later recanted their confessions, and appealed the sentence, claiming to have been coerced into pleading guilty. Anees made a statutory declaration to that effect.[3] Two of Anwar’s secretaries, Ezam Mohamad and Mohamad Azmin Ali, were both held separately as part of police investigations into the “50 reasons” book. Both were later released.

A few days later Anwar addressed a protest gathering of nearly 100,000 people in Kuala Lumpur, after which a number of his supporters marched to Mahathir’s then official residence demanding reformasi (economic and political reforms) and Mahathir’s resignation. This march, a rare event in Malaysia, caused concern in the government. That night, Anwar’s home was raided by a masked and armed SWAT team from the Royal Malaysian Police. His arrest was announced several hours later, as were those of several of Anwar’s supporters, although most of them were later released.

Charges of corruption and sodomy

Anwar Ibrahim being escorted by the police to the Federal Court of Malaysia on February 4, 2002, he was released from prison on September 2, 2004 after his conviction on sodomy was reversed.

Anwar Ibrahim being escorted by the police to the Federal Court of Malaysia on February 4, 2002, he was released from prison on September 2, 2004 after his conviction on sodomy was reversed.

On 29 September 1998 Anwar appeared in court and pleaded innocent to charges of corruption and sodomy. A photo of Anwar with a black eye (which he incurred from a beating, while handcuffed and blindfolded, by then Inspector General of Police Rahim Noor) and one hand raised became a symbol of the political opposition in many reformasi posters.

The black eye was explained by Mahathir Mohamad and Rahim Noor as being “self-inflicted” and caused by “pressing a glass over his eyes”. Only after a Royal Commission was convened did Rahim Noor admit that he had administered the beating to Anwar. Both Anwar and Rahim Noor have denied the allegations that Anwar was sodomised in prison to “plant” the forensic evidence of anal sex.

During the trial, a mattress was presented to court, supposedly stained with Anwar’s semen. This was submitted as DNA evidence of Anwar’s sexual acts. Anwar denied having anything to do with the mattress, although the DNA tests came out positive. The defense team alleged that Anwar was masturbated while unconscious. Dr. Lim Kong Boon, a doctor during the trial [4], testified that it is possible to massage the prostate gland through the anus in order to stimulate ejaculation in an unconscious victim. The defense council presented this as evidence for police sexual abuse to obtain false forensics evidence to frame Anwar.

Anwar was also accused of corruption relating to the police investigation into and arrest of the author of 50 Reasons. He was also accused of sodomy with his wife’s chauffeur, Azizan Abu Bakar. Judge Augustine Paul wrote 320 page judgment in the case, the longest judgment in the country’s history. [5] In that judgment, he explains the evidence involved and the rulings he made.

During the trial, Mahathir appeared on Malaysian television in a special appearance to explain the arrest of his deputy. This was one of several occasions in which Mahathir declared Anwar guilty of sodomy and homosexual acts, even as the trial still was underway. The government included the statements of the purported victims of Anwar’s sodomy attacks, evidence that was widely considered to be tainted.[citation needed] Furthermore, the prosecution was unable to accurately decide on a date that the alleged acts of anal sex had occurred – the government originally alleged that a sodomy had occurred inside a building that had not been constructed at the time of the alleged event. Furthermore, the Attorney General’s prosecution team (headed by Abdul Gani Patail) also submitted a scenario in which Dr Munawar Anees took an overnight flight from Britain all the way to Malaysia to be sodomized by Anwar, and flew back to Britain after that. The infamous “stained mattress” that was taken in and out of court over 20 times throughout the duration of the trial, was supposedly the same one that Anwar did his homosexual acts and extramarital sex on. However, according to the evidence, the sexual acts had taken place on the mattress a few years ago, and yet the DNA evidence obtained from it were rather recent in age.

On April 14, 1999, Anwar was sentenced to six years in prison for corruption and, on August 8, 2000, nine years in prison for sodomy. The sentences were to be served consecutively, and Anwar was given no credit for the six months he spent in jail during the trial. The following year, Anwar’s corruption conviction was upheld by Malaysia’s Court of Appeal. In July 2002, Anwar lost his final appeal against the corruption conviction in the Federal Court.

In a speech during the proceedings against him, Anwar explained what he believed to be the underlying motive behind his persecution. He told the court: “I objected to the use of massive public funds to rescue the failed businesses of his (Mahathir’s) children and cronies.” Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch expressed doubts about the fairness of the trials. [6] [7] Amnesty International subsequently designated Anwar as a prisoner of conscience. The trial also provoked international criticism. Then-U.S. Vice President Al Gore denounced Anwar’s trial as a “mockery”, but Mahathir rejected all such international criticism as “foreign interference.”[8]

Anwar’s wife, Wan Azizah Ismail, subsequently formed Parti Keadilan Nasional (the National Justice Party, later known as Parti Keadilan Rakyat or the People’s Justice Party), which based its platform on campaigning for Anwar’s release and reformasi. At the following general election, the People’s Justice Party performed poorly in the election, only retaining a single parliamentary seat, Anwar’s old parliamentary seat of Permatang Pauh, which was won by his wife.

Release from prison

On September 2, 2004, a panel of three judges of the Federal Court (Malaysia’s highest court) overturned the sodomy conviction by 2 to 1, finding contradictions in the prosecution’s case. However, the judges noted “We find evidence to confirm that the appellants were involved in homosexual activities and we are more inclined to believe that the alleged incident at Tivoli Villa did happen.”

Anwar completed his term for corruption after his sentence was being reduced for good behaviour. Although the point was by now moot, an appeal on the corruption charges was heard on September 6, 2004. Under Malaysian law a person is banned from political activities for five years after the end of his sentence. Success in this appeal would have allowed him to return to politics immediately. On September 7, the court agreed to hear Anwar’s appeal. However, on September 15, the of Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that its previous decision to uphold a High Court ruling that found Anwar guilty was in order, relegating Anwar to the sidelines of Malaysian politics until April 14, 2008. The only way for Anwar to be freed from this stricture would have been for him to receive a pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

At the time of his release from prison, Anwar was reportedly suffering from serious back problems, which his family said was the result of the beating by the ex-police chief. However, the UMNO-owned newspaper, the New Straits Times, alleged that the injuries had actually been caused by a fall from a horse in 1993 during Anwar’s tenure as deputy prime minister. His wife had argued during his imprisonment that he required treatment for his condition at a clinic in Germany. The government refused, claiming that such treatment was readily available in Malaysia, offering medical treatment if necessary. However, in September 2004, after the Federal Court quashed his conviction for sodomy, Anwar was free to travel to Munich for back surgery.

Since his release from prison, Anwar has held teaching positions at St Antony’s College, Oxford, where he was a Visiting fellow and Senior associate member and at Johns Hopkins School of Advance International Studies in Washington DC as a Distinguished Senior Visiting Fellow. He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. In March 2006 he was appointed as Honorary President of the London-based organization AccountAbility (Institute of Social and Ethical AccountAbility). [9]

In July 2006, Anwar was elected Chair of the Washington-based Foundation for the Future [10]. In this capacity, he signed the October 1, 2006 letter to Robin Cleveland of the World Bank, requesting the transfer of the secondment of Shaha Riza from the US Department of State to the Foundation for the Future. This transaction led to Paul Wolfowitz’s resignation as president of the organization.[11]

Political future

In November 2006, Anwar announced he planned to run for Parliament in 2008, after his disqualification expired. Anwar has been critical of government policies since his release from prison, most notably of the controversial New Economic Policy (NEP), which provides affirmative action for the Malays. The policy sets a number of quotas, such as for units of housing and initial public offerings, that must be met.[12]

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim announcing his intention to contest in a by-election to enter parliament.

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim announcing his intention to contest in a by-election to enter parliament.

He is also the Advisor of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the party of which his wife Dr. Wan Azizah is president. He was in the forefront in organising a November 2007 mass rally, called the 2007 Bersih Rally, which took place in the Dataran Merdeka Kuala Lumpur to demand clean and fair elections. The gathering was organised by BERSIH, a coalition comprising political parties and civil society groups, and drew supporters from all over the country.

The 2008 election date, however, was set for 8 March 2008, sparking criticisms that Barisan Nasional called for early elections in a bid to deny Anwar’s plans for a return to Parliament. In response, Anwar’s wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, declared that she would step down should she retain her Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat to force a by-election in which Anwar himself would contest.[13]

When asked about the possibility of Anwar becoming the next Prime Minister, former leader Tun Dr. Mahathir reacted by saying rather sarcastically, “He would make a good Prime Minister of Israel”.[14]

On April 14, 2008, Anwar celebrated his official return to the political stage, as his ban from public office expired a decade after he was fired as Deputy Prime Minister. One of the main reasons the opposition seized a third of parliamentary seats and five states in the worst ever showing for the Barisan Nasional coalition that has ruled for half a century, was due to him leading at the helm.[15] A gathering of more than 1,000 supporters greeted Anwar in a rally welcoming his return to politics. Police interrupted Anwar after he had addressed the rally for nearly two hours and called for him to stop the gathering since there was no legal permission for the rally.[16]

On April 29, 2008, after 10 years of absence, he returned to the Parliament, albeit upon invitation as a spouse guest of Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, People’s Justice Party and the first female opposition leader in Malaysian Parliament’s history.[17] Anwar Ibrahim stated he is confident that he can win over enough government legislators in a parliamentary vote in September to end over 50 years of rule by one party. His party will stage a confidence vote on September 16 against Abdullah Badawi and needs the support of just 30 government legislators in the 222-seat lower house of parliament. It hopes to sway ruling party lawmakers from the states of Sabah and Sarawak to oust the UMNO party from power for the first time since Malaysia won independence in 1957. [18]

On July 27, 2008 Anwar Ibrahim said that he aims to return to parliament for the first time in a decade later this year if a court orders a by-election near his home town. The seat mentioned would probably be Kulim-Bandar Baharu constituency next to his hometown of Permatang Pauh in Penang.[19] Anwar Ibrahim on July 31, 2008 said he would contest a by-election for the parliamentary seat of Permatang Pauh vacated by his wife in order to expedite his return to political office. His wife Wan Azizah said she handed her letter of resignation to the parliament speaker on Thursday 31 July. Party officials said the by-election must be held within 60 days. [20]

New allegations of sodomy

On June 29, 2008, online news portal Malaysiakini reported that an aide of Anwar Ibrahim had lodged a police report claiming that he had been sodomised by Anwar. The news has since been updated with reports that SMS messages are being distributed claiming that the person who made the report is Anwar’s aide, Saiful Bahari, who was arrested and allegedly forced to make a false confession. The same text message also claimed the possibility of Anwar being arrested.[21]

Anwar has since denied the allegations claiming that it was made in retaliation for his recent acquisition of evidence that implicates the current Inspector General of the Police, Musa Hassan, and the Attorney General, Abdul Gani Patail, in misconduct including fabrication of evidence used against him during the 1998-1999 trials. [22] [23]

On June 30, Anwar moved into the compound of the Turkish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur at the invitation of Turkish ambassador Barlas Ozener, who denied it and told Foreign Minister of Malaysia Dato’ Seri Dr. Rais Yatim that Anwar had come on “his own accord for a visit”. Rais added Malaysia was concerned that getting protection or shelter from foreign missions would become a trend for those who violated the country’s law.

Wan Azizah Wan Ismail accused the government of orchestrating the allegations, which she condemned as “political murder” against her husband. She produced a photograph of the aide with a staff member of Deputy Prime Minister and said it proved a link of a government conspiracy. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi denied it and stressed that his government was not behind the latest sodomy allegation against Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Anwar. On the allegation by Anwar’s wife where she had shown the photograph taken with a staff member of Deputy Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Razak explained that the picture was taken three months ago when Mohd Saiful went to his office to apply a for government scholarship.[24][25]

Anwar Ibrahim said on June 30, 2008 that he would leave by 11 a.m. British time, and he never sought political asylum, but sought refuge there on “humanitarian grounds”: “If the government gives me a categorical undertaking for my personal safety I will leave (the embassy) now.”[26] To clear his name, Ibrahim filed a lawsuit against his 23-year old male aide who accused him of sodomy, in the Kuala Lumpur High Court.[27] Anwar left the embassy after a meeting between Malaysia’s Foreign Minister, Rais Yatim, and Turkish ambassador Barlas Ozener. He told the Associated Press he had made the decision to leave after the government had made “all the undertakings to assure his personal safety”.[28]

Anwar on July 1, 2008 vowed before 7,000 people at Shah Alam rally in Melawati Stadium to seize power soon, mobilizing his campaign against the government amid the sodomy charge. His road shows will begin with Padang Timur, Petaling Jaya as its first stop. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is also under pressure from some of his own party members in Barisan Nasional to step down.[29] Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar on July 2 classified the crime charged as sodomy, based on a Kuala Lumpur Hospital medical report of anal sex upon the alleged victim, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, an aide. He was a student of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Universiti Tenaga Nasional. The incident allegedly took place at Desa Damansara condominiums, Damansara Heights. Sodomy, even if consensual, is punishable by 20 years imprisonment in Malaysia.[30][31][32]

Criminal Investigation Department director Bakri Zinin on July 7 stated that Anwar’s accuser, Saiful Bahri, who had not been seen in public since July 2, would remain under police protection until termination of investigations.[33] On July 9, 2008, Anwar asked an Islamic court to investigate his former aide. Under Islamic law, anyone making accusations of a sexual crime, such as sodomy, has to produce four witnesses to back up their claim. The witnesses must be credible and male.[34] There was also a unreported police raid at One World Hotel in Selangor, where the police demanded that the hotel release CCTV footage of a connected incident. Details of the raid have yet to be confirmed.

Arrest, detention and release on bail

Malaysian police issued an arrest warrant on July 15 to Anwar Ibrahim, who was formally a suspect in the sodomy crime, a non-bailable offence. Investigating officer Jude Pereira signed and issued the letter requiring Anwar to appear at a police station for questioning before Wednesday at 2 p.m. (0600 GMT). He can be held in custody for up to 14 days, after which he must be charged.[35] Counsel Nair said Anwar agreed to the new request for questioning, amid arrest under the Sodomy Act. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar demanded that Anwar provide his DNA: “We have taken DNA (from the accuser) so we have to take Anwar’s DNA also.”[36]

On July 16, 2008 Anwar was arrested by a contingent of 10 police cars (half unmarked and half-patrol) with 20 balaclava-clad masked commandos, under Section 377A of the Penal Code, outside his home on July 16, one hour before he was due to make a statement at the police HQ. Earlier, he cut short the interview at the Anti-Corruption Agency HQ to meet the deadline but the police still arrested him. Meanwhile, Malaysian authorities braced for mass protests.[37][38]

According to his lawyer Sankara Nair, Anwar had agreed to meet police later during the day on a sodomy complaint lodged by a former aide, and police had warned they would arrest him if he did not show up. The police did not specify what the opposition leader was being charged with, but that he would be taken to the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters. [39] According to his party Anwar has been taken to hospital by the police after his arrest on sodomy allegations, and is believed to be undergoing a medical examination. [40]

Anwar was released without charges filed, by police bail on July 17, after overnight detention, and after recorded statement. Back home in Bukit Segambut, Kuala Lumpur (10.05 a.m.), his lawyers, R. Sivarasa and Sankara Nair, said Anwar must report to the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters on August 18.[41][42]

Anwar complained he was locked-up with hardcore criminals overnight and forced to sleep on the cement floor: “It is known that I have a severe back problem and I had a major back surgery before. Lying on the cold cement floor has exacerbated the pain. It was only at 1am when Azizah (wife, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) brought me a towel that I could put the towel on the floor and lie on it.I don’t deserve this. No Malaysian deserves this. Why treat me like a major criminal and public enemy? Short of torture, what else do you call it?” His family doctor had to inject him with a strong dosage of painkiller. R. Sivarasa said the police bail for Anwar’s release was RM 10,000.[43][44]

He had minimal medical tests only at the Hospital Kuala Lumpur and was not required to give a DNA sample.[45]

Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, on July 20 proposed that international experts be used in the investigation against Anwar, for Koh Tsu Koon opined this would prevent falsification of DNA samples. Deputy Police chief Ismail Omar said that the police will not use the 1998 DNA sample collected from Anwar. Kuala Lumpur Hospital Director Zaininah Mohammed Zain said Anwar was not stripped naked in his medical examination.[46] Kuala Lumpur Hospital Director Zaininah Mohammed Zain said Anwar was not stripped naked in his medical examination. Anwar however spoke of his “embarrassment at being ordered to strip naked and ‘measured’ when he was taken to the hospital”. He said: “I was stripped naked and had my private parts examined. They also measured the parts.” His lawyer R. Sivarasa said that a court order to give his DNA sample was not allowed under Malaysian law.[47][48]

Anwar has said that he has an alibi for “every minute” of the day when he is accused of sodomy with a former male aide. He mentioned the allegation is a set-up – a repeat of similar claims 10 years ago for which he was sacked from his post as deputy prime minister, tried and jailed. [49]

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi barred probe participation by Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail and Police Inspector General Musa Hasan, amid investigation by the Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) against both. But they will not be suspended.[50][51]

International reaction

Meanwhile former Philippine president Joseph Estrada expressed sympathies over Ibrahim’s arrest. Estrada, through spokesman Margaux Salcedo, said: “Like Anwar, former President Estrada was put in prison for charges that were unjustified and untrue in order to execute a power grab in 2001. It appears that today’s arrest of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was politically motivated. This appears to be a repeat of what they did in 1998 when they jailed Anwar for sodomy at the height of the protests against then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and released him six years later because he was not guilty.”[52]

The United States said that the arrest has raised serious concerns. The State Department has urged Malaysian authorities to resolve this matter in a manner that builds confidence in the impartial rule of law in Malaysia. Two US rights groups, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute also expressed concerns about the arrest and hoped the investigation into the sodomy claims was not used as a political tool to silence him. They have questioned the timing of the current allegations amid Anwar’s re-emergence on the national political scene since a ban on his involvement in politics expired in April 2008.[53] US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reiterated the U.S. view that transparency and rule of law must be followed in Anwar’s case. She said the United States had long spoken out in cases deemed to be political in nature and would continue to do so. [54]

Controversy regarding evidence

At 2.00pm on 28 June 2008, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Bin Azlan went to see Dr Mohamed Osman at Hospital Pusrawi to complain about a pain he is suffering in his anus. Saiful told the doctor that he had been assaulted by and sodomised by Anwar Ibrahim. He examined Saiful but found no evidence that he had been sodomised, either by Anwar Ibrahim or anyone else for that matter. The doctor said that there is no skin tearing, no active bleeding, no traces of pus, etc. Which basically means Saiful couldn’t have been suffering from a pain in the anus as what he alleged. Saiful then afterwards said he would like to make a police report so Dr Mohamed Osman suggested he go for a second medical examination at a government hospital. Saiful did so and the doctor at the government hospital also came out with the same diagnosis. In spite of the doctors all confirming that Saiful was never sodomised, the police still pursued the case against Anwar. The police then picked up the Dr Osman and detained him for three days. As much as they tried to force him to change his report to implicate Anwar he refused to do so. [55][56] Although the medical report could not be independently verified, a senior Pusrawi Hospital official told the Internet publication Malaysiakini this morning that the hospital had launched an internal investigation on how Saiful’s medical report was leaked, which is widely considered as a major infringement of patient privacy. When shown the official a copy of the report, the hospital official refused to return it but he didn’t describe it as fake, saying, “It’s our document.” [57]

Anwar Ibrahim demanded Tuesday 29 July, 2008 that police drop a sodomy investigation against him, producing a medical report he said showed no assault had taken place. Anwar reiterated that the allegations by a young male aide, a repeat of charges that saw him jailed a decade ago, have been fabricated to disrupt his plans to seize power from the coalition that has ruled here for half a century. He mentioned that The complainant is an outright liar working hand in glove with those in power to assassinate his character and attempt to derail the Malaysian people’s aspirations for change in Malaysia. [58][59]

Counter-allegations

Anwar began to raise the stakes in his fight with the government by lodging a police report against its police chief and top lawyer for faking evidence against him in a similar case a decade ago. Anwar claims he has proof that Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail concocted evidence for his corruption and sodomy trials in 1998 and 1999 which kept him imprisoned until he was freed in 2004.[24][60] In retaliation Musa Hassan sued Anwar Ibrahim for alleged defamation on 21 July, demanding unspecified compensation. [61]

On July 3, 2008, Anwar presented allegations which claimed that the Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Abdul Razak, was involved in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case, and called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the matter. He showed a sworn statement by murder accused Abdul Razak Baginda’s private investigator P. Balasubramaniam that claimed police suppressed evidence to protect some personalities, including proof that Altantuya knew Najib.[62]. The private investigator, however, retracted his statement the following day after he was detained by the police for reasons unknown [63] leading to allegations that his retraction was coerced.[64] He and his family has since gone missing leading the family members fearing for his safety to lodge a missing person’s report [65]. The police have since claimed to have initiated a manhunt for the private investigator.[66]

Fuel price debate

On July 6, 2008, Anwar challenged the prime minister and his deputy to debate in the reduction of petrol prices.[67] He told a crowd of 20,000 supporters at an anti-inflation rally that the government should quit over a recent fuel price hike. The stadium was ablaze with demonstrators wearing T-shirts in red, the colour of the protest movement. The fuel price hike has heaped pressure on Abdullah after the March polls which handed the opposition its best ever result — a third of parliamentary seats and control of five states. [68].

On July 15, 2008, Anwar participated in a live televised debate with Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek entitled “Today We Form the Government, Tomorrow the Fuel Prices Will Go Down”[69]. The event was organised by online news portal Agenda Daily and was broadcast live over TV9, Astro Awani and Bernama TV. Anwar said it would only cost the Government RM5bil to bring down fuel prices by 50 sen and continued saying that RM2 billion could be saved by reducing the country’s electricity buffer of 40% to 20%, as the extra capacity only benefited independent power producers (IPP).[70]

Anwar further hit out at the recent increase in fuel prices, saying such drastic measures within a short period had pushed inflation up which is detrimental to the economy and places an unnecessary burden on the people. He said that fuel prices could be reduced if waste from corruption and inefficiency was eliminated. [71] The Minister hit back with several personal attacks on Anwar’s character, including incidents which occurred during Anwar’s time in office.