Revealed: The privileges for ‘jailed’ Anwar, as spotlight turns to Malaysia’s latest prominent prisoner
The opposition leader spent a considerable amount of time outside prison during his jail term for a conviction of sodomy.
(MalaysiaNow) – A stream of visitors, “unprison-like” furniture and countless out-of-jail trips were among the privileges accorded to PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim when he was serving his sentence after losing his sodomy appeal in 2015, MalaysiaNow can reveal as a debate brews over the issue of special treatment for Najib Razak who recently became the first former Malaysian prime minister to be sent to prison.
Officials familiar with dealing with “VIP guests” in prison over the last decades also spoke about how Anwar received “better treatment than ordinary prisoners”.
In 2015, the Federal Court upheld Anwar’s sodomy conviction and sentenced him to six years in jail.
The Pakatan Harapan chairman was released barely a week after the coalition’s electoral victory in May 2018, following a royal pardon backed by the new government of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
But a source involved in coordinating Anwar’s jail stay said during the 40-plus months he was serving his sentence, the politician spent a considerable amount of time outside the prison walls.
“About one-third was spent in a hospital ward for various health complaints, which means prison SOPs were suspended and the ban on communications was also difficult to enforce,” the source told MalaysiaNow, giving a detailed breakdown of Anwar’s out-of-jail visits during his three and half years as an inmate of Sungai Buloh Prison.
Anwar Ibrahim spent about a third of his jail time outside the prison walls, and met a stream of friends, supporters and prominent politicians.
These visits included emergency applications to attend to family matters as well as court appearances.
“After November 2017, Anwar was no longer seen at Sungai Buloh Prison because he was held at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital until his release in May 2018,” said another source.