Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 25th July 2008: 

Hamid's special briefing to foreign missions on sodomy allegations against Anwar a big flop one "black eye" after another in international arena

The special briefing on Wednesday by Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to 96 foreign diplomats on government action and police investigations into the sodomy allegations against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is clearly a big flop, with the caustic criticism by the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice within 24 hours with her call for transparency and the rule of law into the new allegations against Anwar.

Rice rejected the earlier claim by her Malaysian counterpart, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim that the United States was meddling in Malaysia's internal affairs by raising concern over Anwar's arrest.

She said the United States would continue to speak on cases involving human rights and politics although it did so "in a spirit of respect for Malaysia".

She stressed that the United States "doesn't recognise this very firm barrier that it is simply internal affairs when a case of this kind comes up, but we are going to continue to work with Malaysia".

Rice made these remarks at the ASEAN Ministerial talks in Singapore yesterday, just before her bilateral meeting with Rais.

In these circumstances, Rais' claim after their meeting that Rice had "acquiesced" to Malaysia's stance that Washington abstain from making further statements pertaining to Anwar and the country's rule of law will have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Rais subsequently said he was unaware of Rice's statement prior to their meeting giving the bad impression that the Malaysian foreign service is not as well-informed as it should be.

Be that as it may, Hamid's special briefing for 96 diplomats suffered a second blow today when three leading figures on the international stage called for the dropping of the sodomy charges against Anwar.

The trio who issued a joint statement are former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, ex-World Bank chief James Wolfensohn, and Michel Camdessus, the former head of the International Monetary Fund.

As former Foreign Minister, Hamid should be particularly sensitive to Malaysia global faux pas in getting one "black eye" after another in the international arena over the government and police action on the sodomy allegations against Anwar and he should do his utmost to end the national agony and shame with the spate of adverse international publicity for Malaysia which is not helpful at all in enhancing the nation's competitiveness to ensure the success of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the National Mission and Vision 2020.

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor