KUALA LUMPUR, July 16, 2008 3:30 PM
This afternoon at 1:05 PM Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, was arrested outside of his home in Kuala Lumpur. He was due to issue a statement at IPK KL (Kuala Lumpur Police Contingent Headquarters) at 2:00 PM based on an agreement reached with the police on Tuesday.
Anwar Ibrahim was returning from the Anti Corruption Agency to his home after giving a statement pertaining to the police report that has been filed regarding suppression of material facts in the case involving him in 1998. He was accompanied by his senior legal team, staff, and security.
As he entered the neighborhood of his home, a contingent of ten police cars, half unmarked and half patrol, forced the two cars in Anwar Ibrahim’s entourage to stop. There was a contingent of 20 balaklava-clad masked commandos (UTK) who accosted him, reminiscent of the forces sent to arrest Anwar Ibrahim at his home in September 1998.
An officer approached Anwar Ibrahim and demanded that he accompany the police in an unmarked vehicle to the Kuala Lumpur Police Contingent Headquarters. His lawyers were not permitted to travel with him to the police station.
This arrest has taken place less than fifteen hours after Anwar Ibrahim appeared live on Malaysian television for the first time since 1998, and announced to millions of viewers his intention to stand for election, and upon the formation of a new government, to lower the domestic price of fuel by 50 sen. The overwhelming majority of Malaysians expressed their support of his televised statement.
These events are deeply disturbing to us and indicate that this entire episode is a repeat of the actions taken against Anwar Ibrahim in 1998. During the last few weeks the government owned mainstream media has demonized and vilified him. His staff has been harassed and we see a conspiracy being hatched to thwart the political change that is imminent in Malaysia.
Under no circumstances will the people of Malaysia and the international community tolerate any harm coming to Anwar Ibrahim. We remind Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi of the promise he made to ensure Anwar Ibrahim’s protection.
We have been able to communicate with Anwar Ibrahim, who calls upon his supporters and the people of Malaysia to remain calm and to reject any attempts at provocation, which will give a pretext for an emergency situation to be declared.