KAJANG, March 2 – It’s not a fight just for jailed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, but a fight for justice for a better Malaysia in the future, Opposition lawmakers claimed today. This was with regards to the March2Freedom, BebasAnwar and Kita Lawan campaigns launched by PKR recently.
“We’ve gone through this for 17 years. As much as my sisters and I want to free Anwar, Malaysians realise that’s not our end goal,” said Nurul Izzah Anwar at a fund-raising event here tonight. She said if it was about freeing Anwar, the family would have left the country.
“We would not have gone through this dastardly prosecution. It would have been much easier for us. “We continue with our campaign and showcase Anwar as being incarcerated and the larger malaise that affects Malaysians,” she told the reporters when met after the event here tonight.
Nurul Izzah, who is also PKR vice-president, admitted that the support this time wasn’t as great as in 1998, during her father’s first sodomy case, but she attributed that to other woes plaguing Malaysians. “1998 had a shock factor as he was at his height in terms of public interest and being in the public eye.
“I would see a more entrenched and simmered-down level of support that is translated to the rakyat’s woes, with the GST and such,” Nurul Izzah said, referring to the Goods and Services Tax which would be implemented in April. “They are preoccupied with many issues, but that does not mean they don’t realise what’s happening.”
Speaking to those who attended the fund-raiser, Anwar’s wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the incident was a “miscarriage of justice”, but people should continue the fight. “This is a test for us all, to the country and our future that we are fighting for. There is no losing the battle.”
Showing those attending a card, she read out Anwar’s name and prison number, revealing it to be a prison card, recording her next visit to her husband. “Many ask when I will meet him again. To me, it’s good I’m given the chance to meet him and my next visit will be on March 13,” said Wan Azizah, who is PKR president and Kajang state assemblyman.
Present at the event tonight were Anwar’s other daughters, Nurul Ilham and Nurul Nuha. Nurul Ilham reflected on when Anwar was first arrested for sodomy when she was 11, telling those attending how she was scared when police “forcefully” took him away. “I only met papa the next day in court. But what he said to me I still remember. He said: ‘Ilham, don’t cry; papa is okay. I’m just a little bruised, but I’m okay.’
“From that day, I knew I shouldn’t cry and had to be strong for papa and the family. “This year, when they took him away again, the first thing I thought about was my kids, papa’s grand kids. “What upsets me is why they have to go through this injustice. I pray they grow up to see a just and fair Malaysia and non unjust things,” said Nurul Ilham, who is fronting the March2Freedom campaign.
She said the campaign was not a political one, but merely a way to send a clear message on the injustice that took place. Nurul Nuha shared that the campaign was also a way for Anwar’s children to push for reformation. “We are overwhelmed by the support and spirit of everyone and remember all the nights we took turns outside the Sungai Buloh prison.”
The Opposition leaders are prepping up for what they claim would be a massive gathering that will take place on March 7 outside the Sogo shopping centre in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Anwar is currently serving a five-year jail sentence after the Federal Court found him guilty of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan. A rally had been organised, with the most recent one being held yesterday. However, the rally was attended by fewer than 200 participants.