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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Royal pardon may end injustice for Anwar

It is ironic that while former Petrosaudi International employee Andre Xavier Justo was given a royal pardon by Thailand’s new king, former deputy prime minister and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim should have his bid to overturn his sodomy conviction rejected by the Federal Court.
Justo was arrested by the Thai authorities while holidaying with his wife in Thailand and sent to prison in what appeared to be a hush-hush manner that raised a lot of doubt about the integrity of the people in power.
At the point of arrest, he was a key witness to a PetroSaudi deal involving the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) investment arm.
Malaysians are generally grateful to Justo for the expose which finally brought the 1MDB scandal into broad daylight, after both Sarawak Report and the Wall Street Journal highlighted the secret deals.
Subsequently, it was the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the trial of banker Yeoh Jia Wei in Singapore that provided more useful links to the alleged missing billions of ringgit.
Immediately after publishing the information on the missing billions provided by Justo, the Edge was suspended by the authorities for several months.
According to Sarawak Report, Justo’s life is now in greater danger after he is due to be released from prison.
It claimed that there are high-level warnings from at least two separate sources that Justo may be killed in an accident. (For the full report, download the Sarawak Report app from either Apple’s App Store or Google Play.)
Will Anwar be released, too?
Meanwhile, many of us believe that Anwar has fallen victim to what appears to be a political ploy to remove him from the political arena. He proved to a big threat to the ruling coalition during the last general election.
To exhaust all legal avenues to set Anwar free had to be done, but those of us who were waiting for the news from the Federal Court yesterday morning had half-expected that under the current scenario, Anwar would not be released by the apex court.
If Anwar is a political prisoner, chances are that he will remain in prison for as long as his enemies can hold him there.
Although this has been denied time and again by the Malaysian government, Amnesty International has always maintained that Anwar is a “prisoner of conscience, who has been targeted solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression”.
An appeal to the previous Agong may not have yielded anything positive, but there is no reason why Anwar’s family should not make a second attempt to appeal to the new Agong.Who knows the new Agong, like the new King of Thailand, would release Anwar who is already in his late sixties?
Perhaps, it is time for former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to meet the new Agong so that he can brief him on the latest developments, especially with regard to the 1MDB scandal.
Most people were rather disappointed that the previous Agong did nothing about the Citizens’ Declaration, despite the declaration being signed by more than a million people.
The urging for Najib to step down after the 1MDB scandal hit the headlines worldwide has been stretched further by the powers-that-be to suggest that a group of people including foreign powers were in a conspiracy to topple Najib. This conspiracy theory will not hold water as the urging for resignation is directly linked to Najib’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal.
Even the US Department of Justice has identified the key person involved in the scandal as the Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) who, according to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan, is Najib himself.
At the same time, the new Agong should be fully aware why Dr Mahathir had not been invited to his installation; nothing short of an audience with the former prime minister would reveal the whole truth.
The initiative has to come from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong himself. Any requests to have a royal audience either by Dr Mahathir or anyone else with a similar agenda may not get past the gatekeepers.
We are hoping that Sultan Muhammad V will do something. As rakyat, we have cheered the rulers for expressing their concern over the 1MDB scandal, but investigation has not gone very far since the decree was made, neither has anyone been implicated for the loss of billions of ringgit.
It is time for the new Agong to take special interest into the country’s affairs to help reverse the direction that we are taking.
Hopeful for a new Malaysia
Those of us who have been monitoring the political developments in this country are hopeful that with the new Agong, there will be a new beginning for Malaysia.
The question is being asked: Will the new Agong bring about a new Malaysia or at least make amends to the various institutions that have been dismantled by Dr Mahathir himself?
A photograph of Sultan Muhammad stepping out of the official vehicle while Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his deputy, Zahid Hamidi were waiting on the other side of the vehicle, has brought some hope to the people.
Whether this was just a technical glitch or a royal snub, most people are indeed hopeful that the 15th Agong will bring hope for a new Malaysia.
Although the Agong is above politics, he should at least be aware why the people want Najib to be removed as the prime minister of this nation.

He has an important role to ensure that the Federal Constitution and parliamentary democracy is being upheld at all times.
With righteousness, will a nation be lifted up above other nations, but scandal is a reproach to any nation. Will the new Agong do his part to restore the parliamentary democracy and to stop all the power abuses in this country?
It is my prayer that he will. Daulat Tuanku.

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008..- Mkini

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