Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim

The Failed Promise to Cambodia

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 05:05 AM PDT

The National Interest

The deeply flawed July 28 general election in Cambodia attracted scant international attention. This is in sharp contrast to 1993, when the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), with a $1.5 billion budget, administered the first election carried out by a UN agency following the 1948 UN-supervised Constitutional Assembly election in South Korea.

UNTAC was established by the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements. It was created as part of the "survivors’ guilt" over the failure of the international community to intervene to prevent the genocide carried out by the Khmer Rouge. The "killing fields" period, in which up to two million Cambodians perished, stood as a stark reminder of the failure of the UN and other international organizations to prevent mass murder even after the Holocaust. UNTAC was established to restore the credibility of the international community by transforming a Cambodia emerging from civil war, genocide and foreign invasion into a model for democracy and human rights—and to allow a graceful UN exit from the country. Two decades later, as witnessed on July 28th, the world appears to little remember or even care about the pledge to restore and revitalize Cambodia.

One of the great historic ironies is that, despite these international efforts, a former Khmer Rouge cadre, Hun Sen, now sits at the center of power in Phnom Penh. A member of the group of henchmen responsible for the greatest genocide in post-World War II history continues to unilaterally call the shots on the political future of Cambodia. This is a country which, with its demographics of an extremely young population and its location at the heart of the dynamic Asian "economic miracle," could have the potential for fulfilling all the promise of UNTAC’s previous efforts.

Instead, a dark shadow again extends over Cambodia. International press reported on August 9 the movement of armored vehicles and troops into the vicinity of the capital of Phnom Penh, due to reports of planned opposition protests over the election results. The domestic crisis deepened on August 17 when the country's National Election Committee (NEC) rejected the opposition complaints regarding voting irregularities, stating that “many of them didn’t warrant further investigation.” The results, reporting that Hun Sen's ruling party, the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), had taken 48.79% of the vote in the July 28 poll and had won 68 out of 123 parliamentary seats, enough for a parliamentary majority, still stand. The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) claims that, without the irregularities, it would have won at least 63 seats, enough for its own parliamentary majority. In frustration, its representatives walked out of their last meeting with the NEC.

The final recourse lies with the Constitutional Council, which held a meeting on August 20th to consider nineteen separate allegations of election irregularities. The Council reportedly has seventy-two hours to complete its investigation. Only time will tell whether a last-minute agreement, reached by the ruling and opposition parties in the National Assembly, to jointly investigate allegations of voting irregularities will have any bearing on the Constitutional Council’s final ruling on the matter. Win or lose, the strong opposition showing in the elections was a slap in the face to strongman Hun Sen. He is used to having his way during twenty-eight years of continual rule and does not hesitate to use strong-arm tactics when necessary. The ruling party decision to join the opposition in an investigation, therefore, could prove little more than a gambit by the Hun Sen faction to buy time to allow popular furor over the discredited election results to die down.

The opposition remains ready to take to the streets if the current impasse is not resolved in what is popularly perceived as an equitable manner. The American Embassy in Phnom Penh responded to the ongoing impasse by publicly stating that “we still say that an investigation into irregularities needs to happen. The outcome of these electoral disputes needs to be something that Cambodian people as a whole will be happy with.”

Reports of voting irregularities on July 28 include the removal of eligible voters from the voting lists, the inclusion of multiple names on some voting lists, and indications that some pro-Cambodian People’s Party (the ruling party) voters were allowed to cast their ballots multiple times. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki had commented on these reports on July 29, noting that “we call for a transparent and full investigation of all credible reports of irregularities. We urge all parties and their supporters to continue to act in an orderly and peaceful manner in the post-election period.”

Sam Rainsy, head of the opposition CNRP, has called for a return of a United Nations role to address election issues as UNTAC once did. Rainsy returned to Cambodia just prior to the July elections after receiving a royal pardon from the king for his conviction on previous trumped-up charges. His name did not, however, appear on the voter rolls and he was not eligible for candidacy in the elections. Rainsy, in an August 5 letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, stated that "under the terms of the Paris Peace Agreements … both the UN and the Kingdom of Cambodia have a legal obligation to ensure that our country's 'liberal and pluralist democracy' be grounded in 'free and fair elections'…"We believe that numerous irregularities in electoral processes produced an outcome that does not properly reflect the will of the people."

It should provide the United Nations little comfort that, after all the time and treasure expended on creating "a liberal and pluralist democracy" in Cambodia that the country will likely remain, as cited above, in the hands of an infamous former Khmer Rouge cadre. Hun Sen carries a permanent physical reminder of his Khmer Rouge ties in the form of a glass eye, the result of awound he sustained while participating in the Khmer Rouge’s final assault on Phnom Penh in 1975. Hun Sen broke with the Khmer Rouge not out of any moral conviction but because, as Battalion Commander in the country’s eastern region, near the Vietnamese border, he was targeted in a 1977 party purge as an underperformer. He fled with his battalion to the rival Vietnamese before he too could become a victim of the killing fields. He returned to Cambodia in 1979 with the invading Vietnamese army. On that occasion, Prince Norodom Sihanouk famously referred to him as "a lackey" of the Vietnamese.

Hun Sen might have abandoned his Khmer Rouge colleagues, but he did not put aside their murderous tactics. In 1987 Amnesty International called his regime to account for the torture of thousands of political prisoners using “electric shocks, hot irons and near-suffocation with plastic bags." He defiantly refused to honor the 1993 UNTAC-sponsored election results, refusing to step down from the post of prime minister but instead brokering a deal that left him in place as "second prime minister" to Prince Ranariddh’s "first prime minister." By 1998 he had managed to push Ranariddh aside and resume his position as sole prime minister.

Extra-judicial killing of those who represent an inconvenience to the regime is the modus operandi in Hun Sen’s Cambodia. In April 2012 environmental activist Chut Wutty was shot dead by a military-police officer while investigating illegal logging in western Cambodia in the vicinity of a Chinese hydropower construction site. His murder was still the talk of the town when I visited Phnom Penh last summer. More recently, in April of this year, Houn Bunnith, a staffer with the legal-aid NGO International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) was shot in the neck and killed by a military-police officer in Kandal province.

This is all a far cry from the Cambodia envisioned by the United Nations and the international community at the time of the supervised elections two decades ago. The question now is this: what will be the international response to the recent flawed elections and the continued, extensive human-rights abuses in a land that already suffered so much at the bloody hands of the Khmer Rouge?

[PROGRAM] Program Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim di Kelantan

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 04:52 AM PDT

Program Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim di Kelantan 26 OGOS 2013 [ISNIN]

1. 7:30 pm – Solat Maghrib, Taklimat kepada Majlis Pimpinan Negeri (MPN) dan Perasmian Pusat Khidmat

Lokasi: Pusat Khidmat Adun Guchil, 3A Wisma MDDKU 18000 Kuala Krai, Kelantan

2. 8:30 pm – Rumah terbuka anjuran PKR Negeri Kelantan

Lokasi: Tapak Pasar Malam, Jalan Ah Sang, 18000 Kuala Krai, Kelantan


Other Nations Offer a Lesson to Egypt’s Military Leaders

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 04:49 AM PDT

The New York Times

Is the era of the military big man back? In Egypt, where Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi led a populist putsch against the elected president, prison doors are swinging.

Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader and freshly ousted president, languishes in one jail cell, while Hosni Mubarak, the despised autocrat who led Egypt for 30 years, has just been released from another.

The turmoil highlights the central role of the military in some postcolonial Muslim countries, where at least in the fitful early stages of democracy, it forcefully imposes itself as the self-appointed arbiter of power and the guardian of national identity.

But a look at other Muslim countries that have struggled with democratic transitions, including two other polestars of the Muslim world, Pakistan and Turkey, should provide a kind of warning to General Sisi. There it is the generals who are now facing charges.

Last week, a Pakistani court indicted the former military leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto — the first time in Pakistan's coup-strewn history that a leading general has faced criminal prosecution. In Turkey, a court recently imprisoned dozens of senior military officers on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, a punitive reminder to a military once accustomed to reasserting its authority through coups.

Though General Sisi is riding a wave of popularity among some Egyptians and neighboring countries, notably Saudi Arabia and Israel, for cracking down on Islamists, the events in Turkey and Pakistan have shown the limits of military power. And in Egypt, that may ultimately mean allowing the Islamists a genuine role in public life.

"General Sisi needs an exit plan, now," said Vali Nasr, the dean of the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies and a former senior State Department adviser. "Without one, he could end up like Musharraf. And his country, too, could be left worse off at the end of his military rule."

Military and civilian leaders have been competing for power in Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt for decades. The military has exercised muscular influence in all three countries, openly or behind the scenes, because of weak civilian rule that can be traced to the foundation of the states — in some cases, in a bid to circumscribe Islamist influence.

Egypt's generals ousted the monarchy and established a republic in 1952. Turkey's first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a military revolutionary, led a fierce secularization drive in the 1920s. Pakistan's military helped unify the country after its traumatic partition from India in 1947, and quickly established itself as the strongest arm of a weak state.

Pakistani, Turkish and Egyptian generals profess to love democracy, but they practice it with varying degrees of reluctance. After seizing power in Pakistan in 1999, General Musharraf promised early elections but stayed for nine years. During a stint at the United States Army War College in 2005, General Sisi wrote a paper titled "Democracy in the Middle East" that was critical of American intervention in the region. Turkey's army has claimed a popular mandate for inherently undemocratic acts.

Instead, the military has deeply embedded itself in each state's DNA, winning privileges and lucrative jobs for its officers, all the while controlling politics in blunt fashion. Pakistan's generals have mounted four coups over the past 55 years; Turkey has had three. In both Pakistan and Egypt, analysts describe the military as the core of the "deep state."

"The military has been very influential since the 1952 revolution," said Hala Mustafa, editor of the Journal of Democracy in Cairo. "Even under Morsi, it had the same privileges and status as it had over the past six decades."

How the militaries exercised that influence has varied. While Turkish and Egyptian generals ruthlessly marginalized political Islamists, Pakistan's men in uniform co-opted them. During the 1980s, Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan used them to both fight and to Islamize Pakistan's national identity, a source of tension with Egypt at the time.

In all three countries, Islam is often seen as the boogeyman of democracy, Dr. Nasr said. "But that is wrong. The real struggle in the Middle East is between civilian rule and the military."

That struggle is further complicated by the debate over how to integrate Islam into politics. For years, Turkey was the model of progress for many Muslim countries. But the military's retreat has been driven, in part, by the country's desire to join the European Union. And the gloss of civilian rule vanished in June when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan violently suppressed a protest movement in central Istanbul, suggesting that one authoritarianism was being replaced with another. This month's treason trial brought out sharp divisions between secularists and Islamists, underscoring how Turkey's nation-building model remains a work in progress.

Yet the Turkish model may still offer the best hope: the protests in Istanbul appeared aimed more at Mr. Erdogan's hard-nosed policies than at the system of civilian rule itself.

For some Egyptians pondering their future, the dreaded outcome is to become like Pakistan. Yet there are lessons to be learned. For decades, Pakistani generals could intervene in politics at will, a fact that the current prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, appreciates better than most: his last stint in power ended in 1999 with an army coup.

But since General Musharraf was ousted as president in 2008, Pakistan's notoriously fractious politicians joined hands to give the military little room for maneuver, culminating in the recent, relatively clean election, which Mr. Sharif won with a handsome mandate. The courts have also grown bolder, highlighting military-driven vote rigging and human rights abuses (even if nobody has yet faced charges) and daring to indict General Musharraf, who also faces possible treason charges.

Pakistanis now view themselves as exemplars of transition politics. After Mr. Morsi's ouster, which many Egyptian liberals supported, their Pakistani counterparts were quick to offer advice on the perils of military intervention. "Been there, done that — and it was definitely the wrong choice," said the journalist Omar R. Quraishi on Twitter.

Still, Pakistan's generals remain strong behind the scenes, and Pakistan's transition is far from complete. General Musharraf's trial, analysts say, could offer a weather vane of how much prestige they are willing to cede.

Leaders in Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt are acutely aware of the parallels among them. General Musharraf, who speaks Turkish, used to wax lyrical about the secular vision of Turkey's founder, Mr. Ataturk. More recently Turkish leaders have expressed fear that events in Egypt could stir trouble in their own country. "At moments of peril, it is more important than ever to stick closely to the democratic path," President Abdullah Gul wrote recently in The Financial Times.

Yet as all three countries climb the ladder toward functioning democracies, the effort is complicated by outside pressure, which often favors the military. American support for Pakistan and Egypt has long been predicated on those countries' geostrategic value: Egypt's proximity to Israel and Pakistan's to Afghanistan. Turkey is a major player in NATO.

And in Egypt, General Sisi and his commanders have drawn vocal support for his harsh crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood from the governments of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Even Mr. Mubarak, at the height of his 30-year rule, dared not operate so boldly. But therein lies the danger, perhaps, for General Sisi.

His support from Egyptian civic society could evaporate as revulsion grows at the bloodshed against Islamists and the military's crackdown on other dissenters. If he alienates Western support, financing from the Middle East cannot sustain his country for very long. And, as events in Turkey and Pakistan have shown, the military's eminence can endure only by strategically ceding space to civilian players — or the use of violent repression.

[PRESS STATEMENT] Malaysian Criminal Justice System In Complete Disrepute; We Need A Royal Commission Immediately

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 04:47 AM PDT

24 AUGUST 2013

The shocking outcome of the Altantuya murder appeal in the Court of Appeal has the effect of bringing further and total disrepute to the Malaysian criminal justice system.

Keadilan has consistently maintained that the Altantuya High Court trial of Razak Baginda, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar had always been a manipulated process and done according to a prescribed script.
When the script was not followed at certain points in the initial stages, we saw the fallout. The most senior prosecutors in the Prosecution Division of the AG's Chambers such as Dato Sallehudin and Dato Yusuf Zainal Abiden were removed from the team when apparently they refused to play ball with a script that would result in the certain acquittal of Razak Baginda. Sallehudin then resigned to go into private practice.

We also saw the trial moved to be heard before YA Zaki Yassin after YA N Segara refused bail to Razak on the basis of facts stated in Razak's own affidavit. The movement was of course disguised in a reshuffle of cases in the Shah Alam High Court.
There were still occasional out of script moments during the trial when a witness Burma Oyunchimeg @ Amy tried to tell the Court about the photograph shown to her by Altantuya showing Razak, Najib and her in a restaurant in Paris and was stopped by objections from the defence, prosecution and the court.

The rest of the trial mostly played out according to the written script including the acquittal of Razak Baginda.
Keadilan had consistently maintained earlier that key witnesses such as DSP Musa Safiri, Nasir Safar, Prime Minister Najib, his wife Rosmah and his brother Nazim Razak should all have been called as relevant witnesses – not so much to establish the guilt of Sirul and Azilah but to establish who had directed Sirul and Azilah to kill Altantuya. After the revelations of Deepak Tethwani and Americk Singh Sidhu, it was obvious that they and Cecil Abraham were also relevant witnesses.

Private investigator Balasubramaniam had in his public statements detailed Musa's involvement in the episode and the link between Musa and Razak Baginda. The key question to be answered was always -who was directing Musa as Razak clearly had no authority to direct key police personnel. Musa at that time was Najib's ADC.

Nasir Safar, Prime Minister Najib's private secretary of 20 years standing at the material time ( no longer now ) was identified by Balasubramaniam as present on the night of the murder on 19th October 2006 in front of Razak Baginda's house in Bukit Damansara driving around slowly surveying the scene before Sirul, Azilah and woman policeman L/Corp Rohaniza Roslan arrived later to take away Altantuya who was in front of the house with Bala.

Najib, Rosmah and Nazim have all been implicated by public statements by Balasubramaniam, Deepak and Americk Singh Sidhu in the making of Bala's 2nd SD which was done to obliterate all references to the alleged relationship between Najib and Altantuya in Bala's 1st SD.

When the High Court judge YA Zaki said he had a problem establishing motive, it would be obvious to all and sundry that witnesses such as Musa, Nasir Safar, Najib, Rosmah, Nazim, Deepak, Cecil Abraham amongst others would be highly relevant to motive. But of course none were called to give evidence during the trial.

The acquittal of Razak Baginda without his defence being called was highly questionable. Also questionable was the decision of the AG to not appeal. The AG's Chambers routinely appeals verdicts against them in criminal trials; they had also made repeated and consistent public statements that they had a good case against Razak – why then did they not appeal?

It is our view that there was sufficient evidence during the trial to convict Azilah and Sirul on the evidence of Bala, Lance Corporal Rohaniza, the phone records showing constant communication between Azilah and Razak from 18 October before and after the murder, the fact that Altantuya's jewellery was found in Sirul's house, CCTV footage in Hotel Malaya ( where Altantuya was staying ) on 18 October showing Sirul and Azilah's presence there, Altantuya's blood stains on slippers in Sirul's car, the use of C4 explosives and other evidence presented. There could be no doubt that Sirul and Azilah were the last to be seen with Altantuya.

It is our view that even if the Court of Appeal found defects in the manner the High Court judge analyzed the evidence and in the conduct of the prosecution in presenting the case, the proper order to make in this case was to order a retrial and NOT grant an acquittal, particularly when the defect was that a key witnesses such as Musa Safiri was not called. There is ample power under the law in section 60 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 to order a retrial which is regularly done in appeals.

However the judgment of the Court of Appeal again highlights aspects of the shoddy prosecution highlighting in particular the omission to call Musa Safiri. However the omission is not just to call Musa but also the many others stated above, Musa, Nasir Safar, Najib, Rosmah, Nazim, Deepak, Cecil Abraham amongst others.

The question raised by the Court of Appeal about the failure of the prosecution to call a key witness Musa Safiri is only one of many questions to be asked about this failed prosecution. Any independent investigator would be asking why persons linked closely to Najib such as Musa Safiri and Nasir Safar are linked to the murder? Najib's direct involvement in the making of Bala's 2nd SD raises questions about his motives here.

We therefore call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the failed prosecution. We had already earlier called it a failed prosecution because of the acquittal of Razak Baginda and the gross failure to identify and prosecute those who directed the killing of Altantuya. However the failed prosecution has taken a ludicrous twist with the acquittal of Sirul and Azilah as now the Malaysian criminal justice system sinks into complete disrepute in the eyes of the world. A Royal Commission is necessary to start the process of rescuing its credibility. Will the Cabinet sit ( without the presence of Prime Minister Najib ) and make a decision?

Sivarasa Rasiah, Member of Parliament for Subang

24th August 2013

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