Malaysia’s Anwar vows to fight on for freedom & justice
Malaysia’s controversial opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday vowed to fight on for freedom and justice, a day after the apex court upheld a five-year jail sentence holding him guilty of sodomy.
Anwar, who is the most potent threat to Prime Minister Najib Razak, had appealed against charges of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008 but the Federal Court ruled yesterday that there was overwhelming evidence against the 67-year-old leader.
The decision was sharply criticised by the US, Australia and human rights organisations. “I have fought for most of my life on behalf of the people of this country. For the people, I am willing to go to jail or face any other consequence.
“My struggle will continue wherever I am sent and whatever is done to me,” he said, thanking friends and Malaysians for their support. “As Allah is my witness, I pledge and I will not be silenced. I will fight on for freedom and justice and I will never surrender,” he said in a statement here.
Meanwhile, Anwar’s second daughter Nurul Nuha has said she will lead an international ‘March to Freedom’ campaign for her family to free the opposition leader. “As his children, we will take over his mantle and continue his struggle, hopes and ambition,” the 31-year-old said. “These 17 years have been an emotional roller coaster. We do not know how long this struggle will continue but we will be with our father till the end,” she told reporters before breaking down in tears.
The conviction of Anwar, who helped in streamlining the opposition into a significant force, is expected to have strong repercussions on the political landscape in Malaysia, where Razak’s party has ruled since the country’s independence in 1957 but faces declining support.