Subject: The Anwar Arsenic Poisoning:  Badawi Orders An Investigation
From: "M.G.G. Pillai" <>
Date: 1999/09/11

Newsgroups: soc.culture.malaysia,jaring.general,tmnet.communities The Malaysian government reacted sharply to the police report by Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday that he is poisoned by arsenic.  The deputy prime minister, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, promised reporters last night "no stone" would be left unturned, and if true, whoever did this would be punished.  He is, of course, shocked Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, should accuse the government of wanting to kill her
husband, but did not comment on the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah's allegation in court that she or her family could have fed the arsenic to the jailed former deputy prime minister.  Dato' Seri Abdullah, who is also home minister, was on his way to the APEC heads of government conference in New Zealand as a stand-in for the Prime Minister, who churlishly did not bother to reply to the invitation from his New Zealand counterpart.  He would no doubt convince the other heads of government that his spin on the affair, part of which he revealed yesterday, is the only version that must be believed.  The
inspector-general of police, Tan Sri Norian Mai, said investigations had already begun, that Dr Wan Azizah would be among those who would be interviewed.

     The Gribbles Pathology Laboratory in Melbourne is convinced that Dato' Seri Anwar could not have ingested the arsence at such high levels -- 80 times the normal arsenic levels in the body -- by accident;  it was a deliberately given him.  Dato' Seri Abdullah did not address this, but is upset the report, received a fortnight ago, was only released yesterday. "Arsenic poisoning is serious and should have been disclosed immediately."  The government got a copy of the report yesterday when it was attached to a police report Dato' Seri Anwar filed on the matter.  He said, in his report, that he is poisoned within a larger political conspiracy to destroy him in politics.  The deputy prime minister is upset the urine was sent under false pretences.  How else could he have when, alone among the thousands of prisoners in Malaysia, he is singled out for special treatment to ensure the most inconvenience?

     His lawyers, who get to see him regularly, say he is confined in a 49-square-foot cell, with round the clock surveillance and four cameras in the room so that every movement of his is recorded.  Dato' Seri Abdullah says that is all rubbish.  He is treated, he insists, better than the other prisoners, a 660-sq foot cell "as big as a studio apartment" with attached bathroom, a wide selection of food, books and personal belongings in his cell, an iron bed, pillow, two blankets, a ceiling fan and, would you believe it, a table.  Anwar is also allowed to have 32 items of his own, including perfume, hair-cream, track suits, slippers, and magazines like Time, Newsweek, Economist, Far Eastern Economic Review.  He is also given milk and honey on the advice of
doctors, meaning he would not have been given that if the doctors had not so advised.  And home cooked food, for which he has to be present in court to consume.  Dato' Seri Abdullah talks of salubrious conditions  provided by the state, despite his treachery, but he is denied Harakah, the PAS magazine.  Lawyers bringing books and magazines for him find many, yes, even the magazines Dato' Abdullah says he gets regularly, are disallowed in his ultra-luxurious studio apartment.  The only
inconvenience is it is not air conditioned!  But why this special treatment, why not let him loose with the other prisoners so that these allegations would not arise?

     The government is, has been, less than truthful in the Anwar imbroglio that statements off the cuff and by the way as Dato' Seri Abdullah did last night is automatically disbelieved.  It stonewalled Dato' Seri Anwar's complaint of assault by the inspector-general of police after his arrest until a royal commission, put in place when it became clear he did, revealed it was true. Then every attempt is made to ensure the promised punishment is pushed into the background.

The two court trials of Dato' Seri Anwar is so mired in overzealous attempts to convict him, often in the face of evidence to the contrary, that his promise of no stones left unturned is, frankly, disbelieved.  The Prime Minister wants a politically neutered Dato' Seri Anwar;  he has enough cronies and lackeys to carry that out, by fair means or foul, by hook or by crook, as Henry II found he had when he wanted to rid "that meddlesome priest", the Archibishop of Canterbury Thomas a' Becket, in the 12th century. Methinks Dato' Abdullah's words would have carried more weight if he had cancelled, in view of the seriousness of what happened, his trip to New Zealand.  He is after all Home Minister as well, and the accusations strike at the heart of his ministry's conduct.  He must assume, if not expect, the Prime Minsiter could well offer his head on a platter to keep the ground quiet.  As he now inclines to sacrifice his Attorney-General to quieten the Malay ground.  The circumstances of how Dato' Seri Anwar was poisoned is now irrelevant.

No doubt the comforting theory that the man did it himself -- as indeed it was suggested after the inspector-general of police assaulted him that he inflicted the wounds upon himself -- would emerge.  But the political ground is in flux again.  On the streets of Kuala Lumpur this morning, hundreds, if not thousands, of youths distribute notices headed "Anwar poisoned" and calling on people to congregate at the National Mosque for a march to the Merdeka Stadium.  Dr Mahathir must rethink his plans, yet again, for the coming General Elections.

M.G.G. Pillai