Anwar Ibrahim to go after democratic reforms | Connect Asia

Anwar Ibrahim to go after democratic reforms

Anwar Ibrahim to go after democratic reforms

Updated 28 February 2012, 14:55 AEDT

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says his acquittal yesterday on sodomy charges will allow him to now focus on his demand for democratic reforms and anti-corruption efforts.

The 64-year-old was charged in 2008 with sodomising a former aide in a case he said was politically motivated. The High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled DNA evidence in the case was unreliable. It's the second time Dr Anwar's been charged with sodomy and found innocent.

Presenter: Auskar Surbakti

Speakers: Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's opposition leader

IBRAHIM: Of course myself and my family and my children were very pleased. It came as a surprise, a welcome one because all this year, the entire process has been so against us and no evidence, no witnesses, no examination by doctors. So every stage we were denied documents or evidence by the court, and finally you find the judge saying that no such evidence or corroborative evidence to support the allegations. Therefore I had a final acquittal. So it's a great, great feeling and I can now focus on our demand for democratic reforms, independent judiciary, free media and anti-corruption in Malaysia.

SURBAKTI: The trial has been going on for two years now and as you say you held little hope in that time. What do you think changed in order for you to get this verdict?

IBRAHIM: Well I think when the defence was called I think we surprised a lot of people, we brought in two international experts from Australia, one from Germany, that virtually destroyed the entire prosecution argument or case on the DNA and the alleged ... and that I think was very critical to the case. Secondly I think they underestimated by the Malaysian sentiment, particularly the ... conservative Muslim, they thought they could use this case to malign me and maliciously attack my character. I've categorically denied the allegations and went down to the villages to explain the case. And thirdly I think the international media and the ... by our friends over this too would suggest to Najib if he continues this way and human rights abuses, racist remarks by the authorities, they will soon be close to the category of Zimbabwe and Burma. And I think caught the attention of the leadership here.

SURBAKTI: And there were two blasts outside the court as the verdict was being delivered, can you tell us anything about that incident?

IBRAHIM: Yeah I did not visit the site because the police advised me to stay clear of that area, so we had to come ... home from that place. But my daughter, the member of parliament, actually went to the site, visited the victims and one is in a very critical shape and it is not just ordinary Molotov cocktail, apparently these are done professionally - bombs.

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