In the courtyard of Malaysia

Malaysia is calling for more political freedom, guarantees for democratic rights and for a more serious crackdown on corruption.

In an interaction with journalists in Mangalore, on Thursday, Malayasian former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who now holds the post of the opposition leader, pushed the curtains away on the internal political situation in Malaysia under the regime of Najib Rajak.

Anwar has close ties with some of the Indian leaders and looking at Indian politics, he feels that lots needs to be done, but however, when it comes to corruption, Malaysia is no less.

Growing gap between the rich and the poor and endemic corruption are the two major threats to Malaysia, he feels. This is further worsened by the authoritarian regime of Najib.

Speaking on the freedom of media in Malaysia, he said that both the media and the Judiciary are not free.

“Back home in Malaysia, there are no free media. The handful of media houses are run by the ruling party and the Government. They publicise and talk of their perspective and being an opposition leader, I do not have access to even a single minute of airtime,” said Anwar adding that there is freedom of expression in Malaysia but there is no freedom after that.

“There is a sham democracy. The situation in Burma is better than Malaysia because Burmese opposition politician Aung San Suu Ki has better access to media than any of the opposition leaders in Malaysia,” he said adding that though they can resort to alternate media like the internet, blogs etc, the penetration of the same is rather poor.

With regard to the issue of 40,000 Indians living in Malaysia without legal documents, he said that there are agencies working after this section of people, which are often corrupt. “There is a need to dismantle these corrupt agencies first,” he said adding that there is a need for standard procedure. “We need to treat even these people as decent, dignified human beings. When you do not cane the rich, why cane the poor,” he said adding that the entire episode of misuse of manpower in the name of cheap labour is nothing by ‘exploitation of man by man’.

Anwar was in Mangalore on a private visit to take part in a religious programme in Puttur. However, he has a series of visits scheduled in India, including the India Today conference to be held next month.

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