Jailed former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has expressed “grave concern” over police investigations against former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad for criminal defamation, stating that this does not bode well for ordinary Malaysians.
“If this is how even Mahathir is treated, the democratic right of ordinary Malaysians to question and criticise the government is in serious jeopardy.
“Our constitution and the democratic rights therein guaranteed to our people must not be disregarded or interfered with by government or enforcement agencies.
“I have watched with increasing concern the worsening strain of authoritarianism by those in power,” said Anwar in a note conveyed to his lawyers.
Anwar, who was Mahathir’s protege-turned-nemesis, said the former premier had committed no crime when he questioned and criticised Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak about the 1MDB crisis.
“Instead of investigating Mahathir, the prime minister and the government should answer the important questions that he (Mahahtir) had raised.
“These questions are also being asked by ordinary Malaysians throughout the country.
“I call for an end to this harassment against Mahathir and all others, who have merely done their duty by our country, by voicing against the errors and wrongdoings of the government and its leaders,” said Anwar.
He added the heavy handed response will only aggravate the crisis of confidence in the prime minister, his government and the institutions involved in trying to silence critics.
Anwar was jailed in February and is serving a five-year jail term for sodomy, a charge he claims is politically motivated. – Malaysiakini