NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Malaysiatoday | …… On 20 September 1998, Anwar Ibrahim organised the biggest anti-government rally in Malaysia’s history at the Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square). Estimates put the crowd at between 50,000 to 100,000 but, until today, no one can really put an exact figure to it.
That same evening, the police stormed Anwar’s house while he was addressing the media and a large crowd of supporters and arrested him under the Internal Security Act (ISA). Why the police should arrest him in such a manner – fully armed with assault rifles – is a mystery, as Anwar’s lawyers had been in communication with the police on numerous occasions to inform them that Anwar would voluntarily report to the nearest police station if required to do so.
Anwar was then whisked away to an unknown destination and no one heard from him or could get access to him until he appeared in public, nine days later, with a badly bruised face. While in police custody, Anwar was badly beaten – while handcuffed and blindfolded – and left unconscious on the floor where he was discovered the following morning – still unconscious – by a police officer who had just come on duty.
Four days after Anwar’s detention, Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) falsely declared to the media that Anwar was “safe and sound”. After Anwar’s first public appearance, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad brushed aside talk of police brutality and said that the injuries must have been self-inflicted to gain public sympathy.
On 5 January 1999, the Attorney-General (AG) said, “Based on the medical reports and the investigation file of the Special Investigation Team as a whole, I am satisfied that several injuries alleged by the Complainant are not true, while there are injuries on certain parts of his body proved to have been accused by police officers whilst he was in police custody.”
The AG added, “I am also of the opinion that the Royal Malaysian Police is fully responsible for the injuries to the Complainant whilst he was in the legal custody of the Police. Nevertheless, the investigations which have been carried out so far have not identified the person or persons responsible for such injuries.”
On 3 February 1999, a Royal Commission was set up to get to the bottom of Anwar’s beating and, on 22 February, an Inquiry was held at the Court House in Kuala Lumpur.
Tomorrow, Malaysia Today will highlight some of the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry for those who have not read the full report or may have forgotten some of the points in the investigation.… selanjutnya.