US wants Anwar as Malaysia’s PM, Dr M suggests after Biden’s tweet

Joe Biden Campaigns In South Florida

(Malay Mail Online) – Wading into the Twitter storm sparked by US vice-president Joseph Biden, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested today that the US may be hoping that Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will helm Malaysia one day.

But the former prime minister added that Malaysians did not share the global superpower’s aspiration, according to a report by news portal Malaysiakini.

“That’s up to them, but we don’t want (Anwar as prime minister),” Dr Mahathir was quoted saying in response to Biden’s recent tweet on Anwar’s sodomy conviction appeal and the federal government’s Sedition Act rollback.

Anwar is currently appealing a sodomy conviction and jail sentence that was handed down after the Court of Appeal overturned his 2012 acquittal of the charge.

The Federal Court yesterday said it was still preparing the judgment for Anwar’s appeal that it heard over eight days after initially scheduling two days, October 28 and 29, for the proceedings.

A conviction over what Anwar maintains is a politically-motivated charge would essentially bury the career of the 67-year-old.

In a series of tweets under the handle @VP yesterday, Biden said Anwar’s appeal against his sodomy conviction was a chance for Malaysia to “promote confidence” in its judiciary.

Biden said the ongoing appeal was “a vital chance to make things right” in Malaysia’s democracy and judiciary.

“Amid growing US-Malaysia ties, Malaysian govt’s use of legal system & Sedition Act to stifle opposition raises rule of law concerns,” Biden said in a second tweet, referring to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s about-turn on his promise to repeal the colonial-era law.

Malaysiakini reported Dr Mahathir casting aspersions on Washington DC’s human rights track record.

“They pass life sentence on those who do not even know that they have been sentenced to death. And suddenly, drones come and shoot the person.

“This is the country that wants to teach the world the sanctity of law,” he was quoted saying.

Biden’s remarks have stirred up a hornet’s nest with several other Malaysian government leaders telling the US to steer clear of Malaysia’s domestic affairs, including Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Muhyiddin was reported by state news agency Bernama as saying in Sarawak today that “outsiders need not interfere” in the government’s about-turn on the colonial-era law, as the decision was made in consideration of national security and harmony and therefore “final”.

In an immediate response to Biden on Twitter yesterday, Khairy told the US to look at alleged transgression on its home ground and shut down its controversial Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a US military prison located within the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. The prison camp, which was set up specifically to take in highly dangerous criminals for interrogation and prosecution, has often been criticised by human rights advocates for taking prisoners without offering them fair trial and other rights abuses.

Many non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch have also cried out against the condition of the detainees at the camp.