malaysiainsider | The dramatic arrest of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday was a real black eye for Malaysia.
It showed how paranoid the current leaders are about the former deputy prime minister’s political potential in the weeks and months to come. That paranoia was heightened recently when Anwar appeared on a televised debate on the current oil prices. He did well and declared that he would stand for election and that he intended to form a new government by mid-September.
This kind of confidence does not augur well with the current political uncertainties after the March 8 political tsunami, especially for the ruling National Front or Barisan Nasional.
The arrest has also once again raised questions of the credibility of the Malaysian police force. The police arrested Anwar before he was due to report on the same afternoon. When he was incarcerated back in 1998, he was beaten and had his eyes blackened by a police chief. The photo of him with his eyes bruised was seen around the world. The injustice has haunted Malaysia’s dynamic image ever since.
Internationally, friends of Anwar were outraged when he faced the same charge in 1988 when he was a rising star destined to become prime minister.
US Senator Joseph Biden Jr has called on Kuala Lumpur not to repeat past mistakes in prosecuting Anwar, urging Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to drop this political attack on a respected opposition member. He said that the spectacle of Anwar’s mistreatment and imprisonment on transparently political grounds greatly discredited Malaysia in the eyes of the world community and those of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad as well.
Earlier, the US State Department said that any legal action would not be anything but politically motivated. There could be further action from abroad from those expressing similar views…. selanjutnya.