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'Justice will prevail': Anwar Ibrahim on 1MDB scandal and Malaysia's future| Talk to Al Jazeera | JabarPos Update

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'Justice will prevail': Anwar Ibrahim on 1MDB scandal and Malaysia's future| Talk to Al Jazeera | JabarPos Update



Anwar Ibrahim got his start in politics as a student leader in Malaysia in the 1970s and stunned many when he joined the ruling party and teamed up with then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

He rose quickly through ranks to become finance minister in 1991 and deputy prime minister two years later.

But Anwar and Mahathir fell out in a spectacular fashion in 1998, as the Asian financial crisis plunged Malaysia’s economy into recession and exposed long-rumoured differences at the top of government.

Anwar was sacked and charged with sodomy and corruption, triggering the biggest protests Malaysia had ever seen.

Found guilty following an often lurid trial – a stained mattress was dragged in and out of court at one point in the proceedings – Anwar, who said the charges were politically-motivated, was jailed.

In 2004, Malaysia’s High Court ruled that there had been insufficient evidence and overturned Anwar’s conviction.

After his release, he reentered politics and ran for a seat in parliament in 2008.

But with his political star in the ascendant, and the opposition parties threatening to unseat the coalition that had governed Malaysia since independence, Anwar was once again accused of sodomy. In 2015, after his final appeal was rejected, he was jailed.

Anwar maintained the charges were politically motivated and the opposition parties united behind Mahathir, who had retired in 2003 and switched sides amid a deepening scandal involving Prime Minister Najib Razak and billions of dollars of losses at state fund 1MDB.

In May 2018, after a shock election victory of the Mahathir-led Pakatan Harapan coalition, Anwar was given a royal pardon.

With his release, Anwar returned to political life and Keadilan Rakyat – the People’s Justice Party – which had been founded by his wife to campaign for him and reform after he was sacked in 1998.

He entered parliament after winning the seat of Port Dickson, a seaside resort about 90 minutes south of Kuala Lumpur, and, in a twist few would have predicted, is once again working alongside Mahathir.

The elderly politician – now 93 – has promised to hand over the job of prime minister to Anwar in two years.

So after such a bumpy journey, what are Anwar’s ambitions for Malaysia?

And with Najib’s trials on multiple charges of corruption getting under way in Kuala Lumpur, how does he plan to clean up Malaysia’s political system?

In an exclusive interview, Anwar Ibrahim tells Al Jazeera that nurturing Malaysia’s democracy is his primary goal, and to get there he wants to safeguard judicial independence and media freedom.

He says he is also determined to tackle corruption, and is confident that “a country can effectively rid itself of corruption.”

He is also hoping to reclaim the solid economic performance that characterised his time as Malaysia’s finance minister by pursuing “an economic policy that propels growth, yet at the same time, will not tolerate poverty in the midst of plenty, and gross inequality”.

On Saudi Arabia’s alleged connection to the 1MDB scandal, Anwar says transparency is key.

“The Saudis … must explain,” Anwar says. “They must be held accountable, they must explain, because Najib clearly said the money [$681m discovered in his private bank accounts] comes from Saudi Arabia … he has admitted, by the way, that the prime minister can receive 2.6 billion ringgit [$638m] into his personal account, which to me is clearly a crime, it is a corrupt practice. But because it involves some personalities or authorities in Saudi Arabia, we must hold that person or that entity into account.”

With regards to Abu Dhabi’s alleged involvement in the fund, Anwar says the investigation is in progress.

Commenting on his position in a multiethnic coalition grounded in pluralism in a world where the political mood seems to be shifting towards populism and polarisation, Anwar says justice is his priority.

“I am committed to have Malaysia to be just to everyone. This is important. I am a Malay Muslim. I care for my people. I cannot condone any practice that causes injustice to any citizen in our country, irrespective of if they are Muslims or non-Muslims, Malays, Chinese, Indians or from the tribal regions of Sabah and Sarawak.”

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  2. The pakatan goverments still playing malayu sandiwara… still palaying sentiment of malays if the goverments call all the all malays who was involed in 1mdb funds miss used or stilling money from 1mdb companys … so many malays was involved
    The goverments have to called all the umno pepoles pas pepoles who receive the money feom umno najib to buys the votes last elections …. why the case soo slow …. soon there is new tnusanami goung to come to malays goverments going to face

    Out pm mahthir .. & anwar right know play malays sentiments very shame on them …..

    What hells going on ?????? Pepoles wakes know soon najib will escape umno guys all going escapes …
    Some pas pepolws also will escapes ….

  3. It is no surprise to see your comments
    claiming that Najib Razak is presumed guilty base on PH political motivated
    attacks. The Chinese dominated DAP party sold the idea of mass corruption to
    its supports at a grand scale.

    It started off with the accusation of 42 billion RM
    went missing from the government funded strategic development company that was
    involved in a scandal. The company undertook debts backed by assets and
    investments in capital markets. Various audits done concluded that there were
    no funds missing however the organisation took up a debt rationalisation
    exercise to pay off outstanding debts.

    It did not stop DAP and Mahathir Mohammad who wanted
    the prime minister Najib Razak to step down. They claimed that money was
    missing form 1MDB, and Najib was responsible for it as he allegedly stole the
    money with 2.6 billion RM ending up in his private accounts.

    The reality was Najib’s money was a donation from
    the Saudi King Salman and he had documents to back it. But the damage was done.
    Together with the blown up scandal and false promises in form of a manifesto
    Malaysians voted out the Barisan Nasional government on May 9.

    Since then there is no talk about the missing 42
    billion RM. Najib was charged with money laundering of the donation received in
    his account and not for theft. It seems suddenly everyone is eager to forget
    what was accused.

    So they were eager too to forget the manifesto
    promises to the voters. After 100 days of administration of Pakatan Harapan,
    now prime minister (again) Mahathir Mohammad arrogantly claimed that “manifesto
    is not a bible”. Malaysians were shocked and angry that they were arrogantly
    duped. But some still believe in the illusion.

    The DAP still uses 1MDB as an excuse for everything
    from bad governance to imaginary debts that it claimed was there when they took
    office. Investor reaction was swift and the country has been on a downward
    spiral since.

  4. With the old dog Mahathir at the helm, Msia is still not showing any signs of reformation. The worn down dog, Mahathir, is only complicating matters further more. Inefficiency in contrast to the government's promise is looming ever more. Msians are always left hanging with unrealised hopes with yet another corrupt old fox as their P.M.
    Hopefully Anwar gets his due and we will see if reformation can eventually be realised.
    Edit : As a country we are progressing backwards with many a tyrant and their corrupt misdemeanour.

  5. his case charged in 2 different PM.
    mean he served justice.
    in ither hand..we are wait if najib guilty or not.
    that all.found guilty than najib go jail.
    same as anwars case proof in court.

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