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Friday, February 10, 2017

‘Lions’ join fight to free Anwar

Two years after Anwar Ibrahim was jailed over his second sodomy charges, PKR is determined to show that the movement to free its de facto leader lives on.

PKR held an event to commemorate the second year of Anwar's jailing across the road from the Sungai Buloh prison last night, where the former opposition leader is serving his five-year sentence.

Various leaders from Pakatan Harapan and prominent activists spoke at the event from a makeshift stage to a crowd of over 200 people.

Anwar's wife and the current opposition leader, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, arrived after 9pm, accompanied by a brief lion dance. Her daughters, including Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, joined her shortly after.

Wan Azizah spoke when Anwar was first arrested back in 1998 and how many at that time claimed he had died in custody.

"I did not believe, I did not believe but this is what I have been through... Until Feb 10, two years (now), we have made our efforts and the rakyat also know this but this is not enough," she said, in the last speech of the night.

"We are Malaysians. Who will save our country if not us?" she said.

Nurul Izzah also related what had transpired when her father was first arrested almost 19 years ago.

The police, in the midst of arresting their father, had pointed their submachine guns at her and her siblings, she said.

In relating this story, tears began to fall freely down her cheeks.

Nurul Izzah stressed that the opposition coalition must win the upcoming general election to make sure Anwar is freed, though that should not be the only reason.

"Free Anwar to ensure justice is served. But we also must win the election to save the rakyat from the greed of the current administration," she said during her speech.

All other speakers also spoke passionately about freeing Anwar, with many espousing his qualifications and virtues as a great leader.

They included Amanah communications director Khalid Samad, DAP vice-president Teresa Kok and former Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan.

One of the speakers recited a poem on Anwar's 731 days in prison.

Disabled man swore to march 5,000km

Activist for the disabled Isaiah Jacob, who has one leg and gained his fame during the last two Bersih rallies, swore during his speech that he would soon march to call for Anwar’s release.

He intends to march for 5,000km over a period of 40 days, beginning March 8 to April 24.

A mock prison stood at the corner of the stage with a banner of Anwar displayed at one side, as a drone camera flew overhead.

This was to help provide a live video feed on Facebook, with emcee of the event Nalina Nair occasionally announcing the number of viewers which ranged in the tens of thousands.

Food and drinks were also provided at the event, along with mandarin oranges in conjunction with the Chinese New Year.

There was also a table set up next to the refreshments for voter registration.

Towards the end of the event, a compilation video of Anwar's famous speeches and quotes held the crowd's attention.

In celebration of Lunar New Year and the newly passed Thaipusam, the event was kick started by a music performance by an Indian troupe and ended with a Chinese lion dance performance.

Other attendees of the event included Pakatan Harapan chief secretary Saifuddin Abdullah, Subang MP R Sivarasa, Seri Andalas assemblyperson Xavier Jeyakumar, Amanah Youth deputy chief Faiz Fadzil and Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin.- Mkini

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