Anwar Ibrahim should be released on 14 April 2003 to start a national healing process

Media Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Black Eye of Anwar has cast a long shadow in the history of Malaysian politics.  The black eye has not only saddened and burnt the hearts of Malaysian rakyat; it has also put Malaysia in great shame and bad light in the eyes of the World.

Anwar is a political prisoner. In my opinion, Sdr Anwar was never given a fair trial. The episode on Tivoli Villa itself is more than enough to open up the minds of most people who might have a little doubt in the beginning of the Anwar saga.

Anwar should be released on bail in the coming month. This is Anwar's basic right as a citizen of this country. Anwar can only go back to jail if and when he loses his appeal in court.

It's wrong for anyone to dismiss the possibility that Anwar may be freed on April 14 - the day when his six-year jail term for corruption ends, factoring in the one-third remission for good behaviour.

The statement made by Prisons Department Director-General Mustapa Osman that Anwar will not be released on April 14 was improper. He has no right to pre-determine the outcome of the hearing on 24 March 2003 and the pending bail application.  

On August 8, 2000, when Anwar was sentenced another 9 years and required to serve consecutively after the earlier jail sentence, I described the verdict as " another great shame to all Malaysians" in a statement released on the same day.

I said " Malaysians in general had already lost faith in our judiciary system. Anwar's sentence only helped to destroy whatever little confidence that was left behind."

" I hope Malaysians can open their eyes and start seeking justice for all. What happened to Anwar can happen to us."

" I could only tell Anwar to be strong when I hugged him in the courtroom after the verdict was read. I know he would."

" I know Wan Azizah will remain strong as a mother, a wife and a politician."

" Anwar has promised to fight from behind irons and walls. I hope more Malaysians will rally behind him to continue the struggle."

" Things can only get worse before they get better under the iron fists of Mahathir. Let us all unite and quicken the process of his downfall."

Today, the man we all love to criticise has offered to step down sometime end of this year. I wrote him a personal letter on the eve of last Hari Raya. I asked him to start a process of national healing by righting some of the wrongs of his government. I told the Prime Minister that he is in the best position to do it because he is the numero uno, the most powerful man in the country. Among the numerous issues brought up in my letter, I have asked him to release Anwar. Or at the least, allow Anwar to receive medical treatment in Germany.

I am still waiting for his reply. Would he ever reply, in writing or in action? God bless all of us. God bless Sdr Anwar.


*  Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP National Publicity Secretary