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Anwar Ibrahim

Posted: 12 Apr 2016 07:06 PM PDT

Anwar Ibrahim


Not difficult representing myself: Anwar Ibrahim

Posted: 12 Apr 2016 09:03 AM PDT

By 12 April 2016)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s jailed Anwar Ibrahim said it is not difficult representing himself, as his bid to challenge a decision not to grant him a royal pardon hit more delays on Tuesday (Apr 12).

The former opposition leader is serving out a five-year jail sentence on a sodomy conviction. He decided to represent himself in his application for leave to seek a judicial review of the Pardons Board’s rejection.

The hearing for this was meant to be on Tuesday after earlier postponements, but it has now been pushed to Apr 26.

His family’s lawyers say he needs more time to prepare by himself from prison. They allege he was not given a copy of the opposing counsel’s submissions in advance, and does not have access to sufficient resources such as a law library to prepare himself for his case from prison.

But Anwar told Channel NewsAsia he does not find representing himself difficult, saying it was just “extra work”. “You need to study, understand the law,” he added.

Anwar has 16 ongoing court cases and he decided to represent himself in several matters after he was given only an hour a week to meet with lawyers at prison.

Anwar Ibrahim’s family sought a royal pardon for him not long after he was convicted in February last year, but the Federal Territories Pardons Board rejected that request last March. His family then applied for leave for a judicial review in June 2015.

They now want the Pardons Board to meet again and dispense what they view as proper advice to the King of Malaysia, who presides over the board. As an alternative, they want an order to compel the board to advise the King to pardon and release Anwar.

Without a pardon, he faces another four years in prison – though he can be released early on good behaviour. However, the 68-year-old's family feels that is still too long due to his health.

Anwar has always maintained that the sodomy charges he has faced are politically motivated, but the Malaysian government has insisted it had nothing to do with the decision to send him to jail.

Malaysian state sets stage for polls amid scandal

Posted: 12 Apr 2016 09:00 AM PDT

11 April 2016 (ASIA ONE)

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s Sarawak state dissolved its assembly Monday, the country’s official news agency Bernama reported, paving the way for an election that is being closely scrutinised for its impact on a huge financial scandal. Prime Minister Najib Razak and his nationally ruling coalition have taken a battering over allegations that billions of dollars were plundered from a state-owned investment fund which he founded.Parties from the Barisan Nasional (National Front) have long had firm control of Sarawak.

But political observers are watching for any signs of eroding support before national elections due by mid-2018.New polls for Sarawak’s state assembly must now be held within 60 days. A date is expected to be set this week.Sarawak, known for its vast tropical forests, is one of Malaysia’s most sparsely inhabited states, yet plays an outsized role in politics.It is often referred to as a reliable “fixed deposit” of support for the ruling coalition even as Malaysia’s opposition has gained ground elsewhere.

Although richly endowed with oil, timber and hydropower resources, its people – many from tribal communities – are among Malaysia’s poorest.It is one of ten Malaysian states controlled by the Barisan Nasional while three are held by the opposition.Despite the scandal swirling around the state-owned investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), ruling coalition parties are widely expected to remain in firm overall control of Sarawak.The opposition and electoral reform advocates say Barisan Nasional parties retain control of the states via “money politics”, control of the media, and other means, adding that a recent redrawing of electoral boundaries in Sarawak blatantly favoured the ruling coalition.

Analysts say a strong showing by the coalition could boost its position in the next national polls. Barisan Nasional has governed Malaysia since independence in 1957.A recent independent survey found that most people in Sarawak supported the current government and were little influenced by the 1MDB scandal.Najib, who denies wrongdoing, has weathered the scandal so far by taking steps to scuttle investigations and clamping down on his powerful ruling party.

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