Instead of prejudging and making prejudicial statements about Anwar’s
arsenic poisoning, Mahathir should take measures to ensure that there
would be full public confidence in the outcome of investigation as in
establishing a Royal Commission of Inquiry
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, has shocked Malaysians by his cynical reaction to Anwar Ibrahim’s arsenic poisoning, when he insinuated that Anwar could have faked the medical test.
Mahathir remarked that the specimen of Anwar’s urine sent to Australia for testing under an assumed name and which was found to contain arsenic 77 times the normal level was "Probably …someone’s else’s urine".
Mahathir said it was not part of Malaysia’s culture to kill people because of their political leanings.
Mahathir's statement that Anwar’s urine analysis on arsenic poisoning could have been faked is as in terribly bad taste, unbelievable and preposterous as his statement last September that Anwar’s infamous "black eye" might have been self-inflicted.
Mahathir is not serving his own cause when he is again prejudging and making prejudicial statements about Anwar’s arsenic poisoning, when his earlier prejudicial statements about Anwar’s "black eye" being "self-inflicted" have been proven to be completely baseless and a Royal Commission of Inquiry vindicated Anwar and established that it was the Prime Minister who was trying to "politicise" events instead of getting to the truth.
When Anwar was brought to court on Sept. 29 last year with his infamous "black eye" and bruised arm, Mahathir told a televised news conference the next day that Anwar would "receive much mileage if he can show that he had been tortured by police."
As Prime Minister and Home Minister at the time, Mahathir should not have speculated about the various possibilities of Anwar's injuries, as for instance stating that "there was a possibility that Anwar provoked the police, who then had to use force to stop him", but to account to Malaysians and the world as to the injuries suffered by Anwar while in police custody.
It was shocking that Mahathir made such wild allegations after Anwar had told the court that his injuries were the result of being beaten by police when he was handcuffed and blindfolded until he lost consciousness on the night of his arrest on September 20!
Mahathir has not learnt anything from his most unwarranted and uncalled-for
insinuation that Anwar’s "black eye" injuries were
self-inflicted, and is now making the allegation that Anwar’s urine test of arsenic poisoning was faked. Instead of prejudging and making prejudicial statements about Anwar’s arsenic poisoning, Mahathir should take measures to ensure that there would be full public confidence in the outcome of the investigation as in the establishing a second Royal Commission of Inquiry.
Mahathir should be forewarned that there would be very little public credibility in the outcome of any other form of examination or investigation, as public confidence in the independence, professionalism and integrity of institutions of government in
politically-motivated investigations had never fallen so low in the 42-year history of the nation.
Mahathir may not be completely right when he said that it is not
part of Malaysia’s culture to kill people because of their
political leanings, as there had been such killings - whether the case
of the murder of the Speaker of the Negri Sembilan State Assembly, Datuk
Taha for which an UMNO Cabinet Minister was convicted and sentenced though
subsequently pardoned and released, or the 1983 cold-blooded murder of
the Assistant General Manager of Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF),
Jalil Ibrahim in connection with investigations into the RM2.5 billion BMF scandal.
Malaysian political culture seems to have undergone considerable change in recent years, and for the worse. For instance, it was not part of Malaysian political culture to send political opponents to jail as a criminal, as in the case of Lim Guan Eng, or to assault a political opponent to an inch of his life, as happened to Anwar Ibrahim when he was first arrested and detained in Bukit Aman last September.
This is why Mahathir should agree to the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry which can command public confidence, both nationally and internationally, into Anwar’s arsenic poisoning to establish that Malaysia is not developing the unhealthy political culture of physically getting rid of political opponents.
- Lim Kit Siang (12/9/99)
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