Malaysia poll win offers hope: Anwar

Updated 16 May 2018
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Malaysia poll win offers hope: Anwar

  • Malaysia was on the verge of a new “golden era,” the jailed leader said.
  • I always believed in the wisdom of the people and that if we fought hard enough we would eventually prevail: Ibrahim

SYDNEY: Jailed Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim Wednesday said his country was on the verge of a new “golden era,” with the toppling of a corruption-riddled regime offering hope to people “clamouring for freedom” everywhere.
But Anwar, a leading member of the People’s Justice Party that teamed with former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to oust scandal-tainted premier Najib Razak, also cautioned that “one election does not a democracy make.”
“I always believed in the wisdom of the people and that if we fought hard enough we would eventually prevail,” he told Australia’s Fairfax Media in an interview, adding that a new “golden era” was afoot.
“At a time when democracy is in retreat around the world, I hope that the people of Malaysia have given some hope to people around the world clamouring for their own freedom.”
Anwar was heir-apparent to the premiership until Mahathir sacked him in 1998 and he was subsequently jailed for sodomy and abuse of power.
Now 70, he was imprisoned again in 2015 during Najib’s rule — after making historic gains as the head of the opposition at the 2013 elections.
But in a dramatic turnaround, his party joined forces with his former nemesis to inflict a shock defeat last week on the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, ending its six-decade stranglehold on power.
Mahathir told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday he would be in power for one to two years, before an expected handover to Anwar, who is due to be released on Wednesday.
Malaysia’s king has agreed to pardon him, paving the way for his return to politics.
Anwar said that after working with Mahathir for many years he understands “that he cares deeply about Malaysia and the people of Malaysia.”
“A new partnership was essential to overcome the deeply entrenched, corrupt system that was presiding over Malaysia,” he said, referring to the Najib government.
“Our litmus test has always been supporting the reform agenda.
“So long as there is sincere commitment to these principles, we have always welcomed new supporters. The animosity which preoccupies some observers is not an issue for me.”
Even while in jail, Anwar said he had detected growing outrage among Malaysians against Najib, who has been accused of involvement in plundering billions of dollars from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
Najib and the fund deny any wrongdoing.
Anwar said the hardest thing about being in jail was its impact on his family.
“My children were quite young during the earlier period of incarceration and that was a difficult period for them and (his wife, Wan) Azizah,” he said.
“It is pure agony to see your own children struggling because of decisions you made. This time (in jail) it is my children’s children who I missed deeply.
“But as a family, we were in concert that we cannot expect the people of Malaysia to take a risk for their freedom if we ourselves were not prepared to take those same risks.
“As the days and weeks wore on I never lost hope. In fact, even from within the prison cell I sensed that the outrage against a corrupt regime was increasing by the day.”


Withdrawal from nuclear arms deal ‘dangerous step’ for US: Moscow

Updated 21 October 2018
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Withdrawal from nuclear arms deal ‘dangerous step’ for US: Moscow

  • US National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to arrive in Moscow on Sunday
  • Trump announced US plans to leave the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF, signed in 1987

MOSCOW: Withdrawing from a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with Russia as President Donald Trump has announced he plans to do is a dangerous step, Russia’s deputy foreign minister warned on Sunday.
“This would be a very dangerous step that, I’m sure, not only will not be comprehended by the international community but will provoke serious condemnation,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS state news agency.
The treaty is “significant for international security and security in the sphere of nuclear arms, for the maintenance of strategic stability,” he stressed.
Russia condemned what he called attempts by the US to gain concessions “through a method of blackmail,” he added.
If the US continues to act “clumsily and crudely” and unilaterally back out of international agreements “then we will have no choice but to undertake retaliatory measures including involving military technology,” Ryabkov told RIA Novosti news agency.
“But we would not want to get to this stage,” he added.
On Saturday, Trump announced US plans to leave the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF, signed in 1987 by the then US president Ronald Reagan.
“We’re the ones who have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement, but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement, so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” said Trump.
But Ryabkov on Sunday denied Trump’s accusations, throwing the accusation back at Washington.
“We don’t just not violate (the treaty), we observe it in the strictest way,” he insisted.
“And we have shown patience while pointing out over the course of many years the flagrant violations of this treaty by the US itself.”
US National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to arrive in Moscow on Sunday.
“We hope that we will hear from him during meetings, tomorrow and the day after, more substantively and clearly what the American side intends to undertake,” said Ryabkov.
Earlier a foreign ministry source told Russian news agencies that the US move was connected to its “dream of a unipolar world,” an argument that Ryabkov also advanced.
“Apparently the existence of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty creates problems for establishing a line of total US domination and supremacy in the military sphere,” he said.