KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 – Americans have created a petition calling on the Barack Obama administration to speed up the release of Malaysian opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from a jail as a top US policy toward Malaysia. The petition was created by J.M. of Alexandria, Virginia, who said Anwar was a champion of democracy, a believer in Islamic justice and a long-time friend of the US.
The petition also claimed Anwar was convicted and jailed on trumped-up charges on Tuesday and added that statements from the White House alone were not enough. The petition was created at http://petitions.whitehouse.gov, a site which allows Americans to petition the US government on a wide range of issues.
The site stated that: “This was created because the government wants to hear from Americans. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.” On Tuesday Anwar was jailed for five years by the Federal Court for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
The petition by J.M. went on to state that the Obama administration must follow its words with action. It added that Anwar was a political prisoner and the future of democracy in Malaysia was at stake. It said securing Anwar’s release from prison must be a top priority in US policy towards Malaysia, to be advanced in every way possible.
The petition, as of 10:30am Malaysian time, had garnered 215 supporters but had reached 435 about 15 minutes later. It needs 100,000 signatures by March 12 in order to get the attention of the White House.