Attack on Anwar Hurts Democracy by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (SEPTEMBER 04, 2008)

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam cautions Malaysian government against pushing Leader of Opposition Dr Anwar Ibrahim to the wall.

After making a dramatic comeback in April this year, a badly persecuted Dr Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, is being hounded once again. Sentenced with six years of imprisonment for sodomy in 1998 he was also banned from political activity.

When the ban ended in April he won his seat in Parliament against the ruling Barisan Party's Arif Shah. He got 31,195 of the 47,000 votes. That was an impressive win for him and his People's Justice Party. The vote was as much against the official policy of persecuting Dr Ibrahim as it was in favour of his "reformasi" programme.

At the poll booths some of his opponents were waving Israeli flags trying to tell voters that he was an agent of the Jewish state. However, the people did not seem to be interested either in the "Israeli agent charge" or the calumny regarding sodomy.

As it is, the world is thoroughly disgusted with the mean-spirited attacks on Dr Ibrahim. It is time for Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to terminate the public indignity. Fresh charges of the same nature have been brought against Dr Ibrahim. The court proceedings in the earlier phase had been so lurid and in such bad taste that the international press was embarrassed to report them.

The world will heave a sigh of relief if it is spared the tasteless proceedings once again. Mr Badawi and his mentor, Datuk Seri Mahathir Muhammad (who started all this) would do well to end this charade. Dr Ibrahim today represents democracy, and attacking him amounts to an attack on democracy.


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