Malaysia’s jailed An­war granted fur­lough for dad’s fu­neral

The China Post - - BUSINESS - BY EILEEN NG

Malaysia’s jailed op­po­si­tion leader An­war Ibrahim was granted a fur­lough on Sun­day to at­tend his fa­ther’s fu­neral, soon af­ter he be­gan a five-year pri­son sen­tence on sodomy charges that he says are po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

Wear­ing a white Malay out­fit, An­war was taken to his fa­ther’s house un­der heavy se­cu­rity to pay re­spects to the 96-year-old who died Sun­day morn­ing. An­war will re­turn to pri­son af­ter the burial, which takes place af­ter Mus­lim prayers.

An­war be­gan his sen­tence Feb. 10 af­ter los­ing a fi­nal ap­peal against a charge of sodom­iz­ing a for­mer aide in 2008. The court case was widely seen at home and abroad as po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated to elim­i­nate any threats to Malaysia’s rul­ing coali­tion, whose pop­u­lar­ity has been erod­ing since 2008.

An­war led his al­liance to un­prece­dented gains in 2008 elec­tions and made fur­ther in­roads in 2013 polls. Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak’s Na­tional Front coali­tion won with a slim­mer ma­jor­ity but lost the popular vote to the op­po­si­tion.

An­war pre­vi­ously was im­pris­oned for six years af­ter be­ing ousted as deputy prime min­is­ter in 1998, on ear­lier charges of sodom­iz­ing his for­mer fam­ily driver and abus­ing his power. He was freed in 2004, af­ter Malaysia’s top court quashed that sodomy con­vic­tion. That case was also widely seen as po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated, as it came at a time when he was locked in a power strug­gle with then Prime Mo­hamad.

Min­is­ter Ma­hathir

AP

Malaysia’s jailed op­po­si­tion leader, An­war Ibrahim, fourth from right, prays dur­ing a spe­cial prayer for his late fa­ther, Ibrahim Ab­dul Rah­man, 96, in their house out­side Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sun­day, April 5.

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