Letter from Malaysian High Commissioner re Paul Martin article

Dear Editor,

The Malaysian High Commissioner’s attempt (The trial of Anwar Ibrahim, 5 March)  to defend the indefensible is clearly at odds with the view of Malaysian and international human rights organizations.

Amnesty International calls the trial a politically motivated “show trial”, engineered to remove Anwar Ibrahim from public life and thus maintain the political status quo of a ruling coalition in power for over half a century. The judiciary’s handling of the case is a mockery of trial fairness. Specifically, the courts are allowing the prosecutor to withhold evidence which Anwar’s lawyers believe could be crucial to his defense. Not only is this contrary to international human rights law, it violates the Malaysian Criminal Code itself.   

Anwar’s case is rightly raising doubts amongst the international community, including investors, about Malaysia’s commitment to justice and the rule of law.  If the Malaysian authorities are truly concerned about their reputation, these criminal charges against Anwar need to be dropped at once. 

Margaret John

Coordinator for Singapore and Malaysia

Amnesty International Canada

Globe and Mail Friday, Mar. 05, 2010 12:00AM EST
I must respond to Paul Martin’s accusation that the Malaysian government is orchestrating an unfair trial against Anwar Ibrahim (Speak Out For The Sake Of Anwar – Feb 25).

Mr. Anwar’s trial is outside the authority of the government. While serious allegations have been brought against Mr. Anwar, the Malaysian government, like its courts, ensures the presumption of innocence and that due process is followed.

To imply that a single person is the only representation of democracy in Malaysia dismisses the efforts of all those who have championed democracy in our nation. Today, our laws are mandated by a constitution and our government is democratically elected. Mr. Martin is urging that the charge against Mr. Anwar be dropped. This would be blatant disregard for an independent judiciary and would provoke greater criticism.

But the government cannot and will not interfere. We ask the international community to support Malaysia’s efforts to uphold democratic principles, and to allow the proceeding to speak for itself and the democratic process to take its course.

Selwyn Das

High Commissioner for Malaysia