Mahathir may seek independent probe | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 08, 1999 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:57 PM, June 28, 2013

Police beating of Anwar Ibrahim

Mahathir may seek independent probe

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7: Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he may seek an independent investigation into the police beating of his sacked deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, reports AP.

 

"If that is everybody's desire we will have to consider it," Mahathir said late Wednesday.

 

Mahathir's first public comments on the beating of his one-time protege comes amid an avalanche of criticism over a statement on the beating by the Attorney-General's office.

 

Attorney-General Mohtar Abdullah on Tuesday finally conceded police were "fully responsible" for certain injuries inflicted to Anwar while in police custody.

 

Mohtar, However, failed to name the police responsible.

He also insisted that Anwar had exaggerated the facts of his beating. He said the probe was still under way and that police found guilty of hitting Anwar would be punished.

 

Opposition criticism slamming the statement was joined by a rare denouncement form within the ruling 14-party coalition, the National Front.

 

The Malaysian People's Movement Party, or Parti Gerakan, called the attorney-general's statement "not acceptable," the New Straits Times reported Thursday.

 

"Parti Gerakan sincerely hopes that the report be concluded soon so as to restore the public's confidence in the police force which has sunk to a low level with the appearance of Anwar Ibrahim with a black eye following his detention under police custody," the party said.

 

Anwar was fired Sept 2 by Mahathir, who deemed him morally unfit for government. After leading massive political reform rallies, Anwar was arrested Sept 20. He said that on the night of his arrest, police punched and kicked him into unconsciousness.

 

Anwar appeared in court nine days later with a black eye and bruises on his neck and arms, shocking the public.

 

Mahathir suggested at the time that Anwar may have inflicted some of the injuries on himself to win sympathy.

 

Mahathir on Wednesday said he would have to study whether an independent commission should be set up.

 

"I read that the investigation is not complete, Statements have yet to be recorded from several other people," Mahathir was quoted as saying by the national news agency Bernama. "The police have been generally blamed but we will have to find out in detail... surely we cannot blame the whole police force."

Opposition politicians have called the report scandalous and are demanding the attorney-general's resignation.

 

"What is at stake is the whole administration of justice in this country," said Syed Husin Ali, head of the Malaysian People's Party.

 

Aliran, a social reform group, said: "For all his gobbledygook, he has not shed any light on who actually hit Anwar. It is time the A-G realises that he no longer enjoys the confidence of the Malaysian public.

 

The opposition leader in Parliament, Lim Kit Siang, called the beating a "heinous crime without criminals."

"If this could happen to a personality who was until recently the deputy prime minister, the second highest office in land, which ordinary Malaysian can be safe and secure in police hands in the country?" he asked.

 

Anwar is currently on trial for charges of abusing his political power by trying to cover up sexual trysts, allegations he denies and calls politically motivated.

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