Ambiga: Anwar’s letter was private


(The Heat Malaysia) – The furore created by opposition de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s letter from prison whining about how the opposition leaders should keep their eyes on the goal, be cautious and not get enamoured with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir and his promises, has taken a new turn.

Those who know Anwar and have worked with him closely in the past, say that the leaking of the letter is obviously an attempt to sabotage the momentum of the Citizens’ Declaration which aimed to push for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib to step down.

It was claimed that more than a million signatures have been collected for the Citizens’ Declaration.

The leaders also say that those who signed the declaration did not sign it blindly, although they knew Anwar was in support of it.

One even went as far as to say that there is someone who is working for Mahathir in PKR in an effort to ensure that Mahathir gets what he wants without having to regret for the wrongs he have done during his time. He also questions when was the letter written as it was undated.

Anwar, who as the deputy PM sacked by Mahathir, is serving a jail sentence on sodomy charges, a charge which he says is politically motivated. However, in a rare political development, Anwar had supported the Citizens’ Declaration which was spearheaded by Mahathir to oust Najib mainly over the 1MDB financial scandal.

The eight-page long handwritten letter was a continuous rant of caution, advice and admonition – in typical Anwar’s poetic style – to fellow leaders to ensure that the Citizens’ Declaration does not get sabotaged by Mahathir, former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin and Gua Musang Umno MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for their own gains.

Leaders who have signed the Citizen’s Declaration say that there is no way that that letter, smuggled out of prison and addressed to the leaders of the opposition, was for the consumption of the public. PKR leaders insist that it was definitely an internal matter that got leaked to the media and now used to undermine Anwar and the Citizens’ Declaration.

National Human Rights Society (Hakam) president Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasen, who not only signed but pushed for the Citizens’ Declaration to the fore, says that Anwar would have never thought that views expressed in private would have been put out to the media for public consumption.

“I think what I am most surprised by is that a private letter by Anwar found its way into the public domain.

“It was a letter for his close colleagues in the party which contained his most private thoughts and unfortunately it has found its way into the press. He has every right to air his views and we should not comment on them as he wrote them sitting in prison and believing his words would remain private. It is his right to pen his innermost feelings. Anwar’s views are always welcome,” says Ambiga.

One opposition leader, who signed the declaration and wanting to be anonymous, says that the way the letter was written obviously shows that it was not a press statement.

“The letter is definitely for party only, it isn’t for the public.

“What has happened just shows that there are people within the party who are working for Tun Mahathir (for his interests) and not to just take down Najib (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak).

“It isn’t just about taking down one person,” says the opposition leader.

PKR President and Anwar’s wife Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail also says that the letter is an internal matter and that Anwar never said to completely cut off ties with Mahathir.

PKR’s senator Prof Dr Syed Husin Ali says, very curtly, when contacted, that “as the president has said, it is a party internal matter. Itu saja lah.”

Another opposition leader says that it is wrong for the letter to be judged via media when Anwar is in prison and not able to explain it himself.

One PKR leader says that the Citizens’ Declaration was never between PKR and Mahathir, anyway.

“It was a citizens’ declaration. Also, it is just too bad that this happened to an opposition party. We do not know what kind of private letters are being penned in the ruling party,” says the PKR leader.

PKR obviously has its hands full now to ensure that whoever has leaked the letter is found and thrown out, for a political party with moles is akin to a sinking ship which can only be saved when the heavy cargo is thrown overboard.