Former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim yesterday said the conviction of former President Joseph Estrada is “an issue in selective prosecution (in) the midst of pervasive corruption.”
Anwar is keynote speaker of the 2nd World Forum for Democracy in Asia biennial conference at the Sofitel Plaza Hotel.
Anwar, a close friend of Estrada, said the verdict was “harsh” because the prosecution was selective. He said he believed, however, that the trial “contained pertinent issues of law.”
He said he has requested the Philippine government to allow him to see Estrada “to say hello” and to “wish him well.”
The government has not acted on his request. Neither has he been invited to call on President Arroyo in Malacañang.
In his address, Anwar thanked the political personalities who supported him in his three-year political imprisonment in Malaysia.
He thanked Estrada, former President Corazon Aquino, the late senator Blas Ople and Speaker Ramon Mitra, Speaker Jose de Venecia, and Sen. Eduardo Angara. These personalities, he said, “mobilized moral support” in his “fight against tyranny and oppression in Malaysia.”
Ganyan rin ang nangyari kay Erap eh. He also wanted to visit Anwar Ibrahim in jail noong 1998, pero hindi pinayagan ng Malaysian Gov't.
Matagal nang magkakilala sila Anwar Ibrahim at Erap. Estrada was one of the few ASEAN leaders who was vocal in condemning Ibrahim's arrest.
More from the Archives Oct. 16, 1998:
During Mr. Estrada's four-hour stop in Batam Island, he and President Habibie discussed ways of reinforcing Philippine-Indonesian economic ties, their views about Asean and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. They also discussed the plight of their common friend, former Malaysian Deputy Minister and finance chief Anwar Ibrahim, who was fired and arrested last month.
Mr. Estrada said he and President Habibie had explored the possibility of asking Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to get Anwar out of jail and just place him under house arrest while undergoing trial.
More: ERAP, HABIBIE APPEAL FOR ANWAR HOUSE ARREST
In an earlier interview on board the ferry "Ocean Raider" on the way back from Batam, President Estrada said Anwar should not be treated like an ordinary criminal. He should only be placed under house arrest at least during the trial.
"It is not only Anwar who is suffering, but also his family and relatives," he added.
Anwar's daughter, according to the President, has just informed Mr. Habibie that his father is being held in a cramped cell.
"We should not interfere with the affairs of other countries but as I had said, human right is a universal concept and it should be respected in all countries of the world," he said.
Read this too. Siguro yan, pati ito at ito ang dahilan kung bakit inis si Mahathir kay Estrada.
Kaya this explains DOJ Sec Nani Perez's hirit back in 2001:
PEREZ ADVISES ERAP TO HIDE IN BRUNEI========
Manila, March 4, 2001 - Justice Secretary Hernando Perez said it is likely that Joseph Estrada's lawyers would advise him to go another country, possibly Brunei, because he is left with very little options.
"Alam ko naman kung ano yung ebidensya laban sa kanya. Talagang matibay at mahihirapan talaga siyang makalusot doon. Ang maipapayo ko kung ako ang abogado ni dating Pangulong Estrada ay talagang magtago na siya. Iniisip ko ay hindi ang Sabah o Malaysia dahil galit sa kanya si Mahathir. Baka kako sa Brunei magpunta," he said.
Estrada and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad do not see eye to eye because of Estrada's friendship with jailed former Malaysian finance minister Anwar Ibrahim.
But who is Anwar Ibrahim? Here's the Wikipedia on him.
Dato' Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim (born August 10, 1947) is a former deputy prime minister and finance minister of Malaysia. Early in his career, he became a protege of the former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Mohamad, but subsequently emerged as the most prominent critic of Mahathir's administration. In 1999, he was sentenced in a highly controversial trial to six years in prison for corruption and in 2000 to another nine years in prison for sodomy. However, in 2004, an appeals court reversed the second conviction and he was released.
Anwar is both a controversial and charismatic figure in Malaysian politics.
He was one of the Asian leaders with tremendous potential, pero naka-away niya si Mahathir kaya ipinakulong nito siya on bogus Sodomy charges.
Here's his blog (with recent blog item and photos of him with Speaker de Venecia).
From the Sunday Times: Voice of moderate Islam wins support
Voice of moderate Islam wins support
Michael Sheridan, Kuala Lumpur
THERE has rarely been a political comeback like this one. For a man barred from office until 2008, Anwar Ibrahim, politician and former prisoner, is receiving a rapturous welcome on what looks distinctly like an election campaign in villages and towns across Malaysia.
“I’m talking about corruption,” he said. “Nepotism is still part of the game. Nothing has changed. I’d say we are 10 years behind the times here.”
The Malaysian government has every reason to be worried, because Anwar, 58, has become much more than a local figure.
He is emerging as an international spokesman for moderate Islam, with a teaching position at Georgetown University in the United States, invitations to Oxford and a demanding schedule of speeches and seminars around the globe.
He opposes the war in Iraq but attacks “the delusions” of those who worship Saddam Hussein rather than face home truths about the crisis in Muslim societies. He argues with Malaysia’s fundamentalists because, he says, “you have to draw a line” against compulsion in religion.
Read this too from the Washington Post.
He was urged to run for the previously vacant UN Secretary General position in 2006.
Malaysia's former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has admitted that he's considered the possibility of becoming the next Secretary-General of the United Nations after Kofi Annan retires.
His name has come up repeatedly in international circles, as a moderate Muslim candidate from Asia. But he says he's not actively seeking the post, because he feels that doing so would compromise his freedom to speak out on important international questions.
On the Middle East, for example, Anwar Ibrahim has launched a strongly worded attack on Israel and the United States, as we'll hear shortly.
It's been an extraordinary journey for Anwar Ibrahim since he was released from prison just over a year-and-a-half ago.
Surgery has helped him recover from the police beating that crippled him in jail, his old nemesis Dr Mahathir Mohammed is in retirement, and his sodomy charge was overturned.
Natuwa si Publius Pundit sa idea na yon at that time. Sabi niya:
Democratic revolutionary Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia is being approached by … well, someone … to apply for the top United Nations post, to succeed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
I think it’s a great idea!
Anwar is a terrific leader whose appeal extends borders and who can talk to all kinds of people. Young men in Indonesia, who might otherwise move over to follow the Islamofascists, drop those stupid ideas when asked about Anwar, whom they really admire. He’s an authentic globalist and a very reasonable Muslim. I remember the democratic reformasi revolutionaries of 1998 in Jakarta has a particular admiration for him, even though he was Malaysian and they were Indonesian. (Culturally, they are very close.)
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something for the rest of us, too. Anwar is a reasonable, sensible guy who’s spoken out against Islamofascist violence (when I lived in Singapore next door in 1998, I specifically recall him ragging on about how gross the Taliban was) and promoted Eastern values - like hard work, prosperity, sound economics, stable families, and empowering everyone. He’s not a fan of handouts, he’s a fan of opportunity.
Anwar led a partial democracy revolution Malaysia in 1998, over the question of due process (it wasn’t the whole hog like Indonesia 1998), and was politically persecuted by nationalist dinosaur Mohamad Mahathir (who is not a total villain, but shouldn’t have persecuted Anwar either), who threw him in jail for several years and did what was really important to him - banned him from running for office in Malaysia for several years.
Mahathir is out, and his successor is very decent, but that leaves the splendid presence of Anwar un-utilized. He’s a communicator, he’s an authentic moderate, he understands economics, he has the right instincts, he believes in prosperity, and he’s a good leader. I’d love to see him lead the United Nations.
Asiaweek 1998 profile on Ibrahim:
POWER POINTS In the glare of the economic crisis, Anwar is eclipsing his boss Mahathir Mohamad as the man of the hour. By leading efforts to soothe financial markets, cancel expensive megaprojects and draw up tough austerity programs, the deputy premier won international kudos. He also proved himself an adept domestic trouble-shooter during ethnic unrest in his hometown and amid the national water shortage. But he is sometimes caught in the middle, trying to explain some of Kuala Lumpur's less logical economic policies. Anwar is still unlikely to challenge Dr. M for the top spot, but his grassroots support within UMNO is growing.