Monday, November 1, 2010

California lawmaker’s terrorism claims add to Anwar’s woes

Monday, 1st November 2010

DeVore linked Anwar to the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) - “Muslim Brotherhood front that has repeatedly been tied to terrorist network financing”.

Already in the dock for sodomy, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is now facing the spectre of terrorism links from a California lawmaker as US and British authorities grapple with terrorist threats from Yemen last week.

Charles S. “Chuck” DeVore, the Republican member of the California State Assembly, has linked Anwar to the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), which he claimed is a “Muslim Brotherhood front that has repeatedly been tied to terrorist network financing”.

The three-term California assemblyman wrote five days ago that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should avoid the PKR de facto leader in her three-day visit to Malaysia starting this evening.

With national polls looming next year, Anwar’s alleged links to the US Islamic outfit could put the opposition leader on defensive, on top of the second sodomy charge he is facing now 12 years after the first complaint cost him the deputy prime minister’s post.

This is not the first time that Anwar’s moderate credentials have been questioned but his camp have rubbished DeVore’s attack, noting that it bore the hallmarks of a character assassination campaign hatched in Malaysia.

Anwar’s international credentials could however be hurt by any attempt to link to terrorism by DeVore, who despite being a minor official, is said to have links to the head of the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) and senior officials in the Department of Homeland Security.

The retired lieutenant-colonel of the California Army National Guard spent two years in the Reagan administration as a special assistant for foreign affairs in the Department of Defence from 1986 to 1988.

But DeVore’s claims are not expected to get much traction in the Malay heartland that helped deliver four states and 82 federal seats to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in Election 2008.

In his letter at the website on October 26, DeVore raised the prospect of Clinton meeting Anwar, whom he described as “a supposed democracy and reform leader who, it is said, has been unfairly maligned by an overbearing government.”

“Clinton shouldn’t, as Malaysia is no Myanmar and Ibrahim is no Aung San Suu Kyi,” said the US politician.

The US Embassy has not indicated that a meeting with Anwar is on the cards but said Clinton will meet with civil society groups before she leaves on Wednesday for Papua New Guinea.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has said that Putrajaya has no objections to Clinton meeting Anwar, who himself indicated there was no such meeting planned.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who met Clinton in Hanoi for the Asean Summit over the weekend, is not likely to have another meeting as he is indisposed with chicken pox.

Speculation that Najib might call for snap polls has strengthened after the Umno president said he will tour the country early next year to check on preparations for a general election which is due by 2013.Two by-elections are scheduled this Thursday while the Sarawak state election is due by July 2011.

Anwar and his PR colleagues hope the by-elections this week for the Galas state seat in Kelantan and the Batu Sapi federal seat in Sabah could go their way and sustain growing support from Election 2008 where they denied BN its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat on a reforms platform.

But DeVore said Anwar’s “passion for government reform was suspect from the start.”

“While riding the crest of his popularity in 1998, his allies called for a debate on ‘cronyism and nepotism’ which Malaysia’s former strongman Prime Minister Mahathir quickly turned on its head by producing lists of those who benefited from by receiving shares from privatised government corporations.

“The lists showed Ibrahim, his allies, his brothers and his father owned million of shares in newly privatised companies. Tellingly, Ibrahim’s corruption conviction was never overturned,” he said, referring to Anwar by his father’s name as is the American custom.

The US politician noted that Anwar “enjoys the support of Al Gore and Paul Wolfowitz” but the Jewish Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith had called him “an anti-Semitic demagogue unworthy of meeting with the US Secretary of State”.

In stating his reasons against Clinton ever meeting Anwar, DeVore said “Anwar Ibrahim is simply one in a long line of Islamist leaders who know how to say one thing to a Western audience who longs to hear soothing words, while saying and acting differently when they think no one from the West is paying attention.”

He also wrote sarcastically about the possibility of Anwar and his coalition winning the next general election.

“If Ibrahim’s People’s Justice Party (run by his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) comes to power in 2011, it will likely mark another occurrence of democracy being used to destroy democracy.

“Secretary of State Clinton, if she meets with Ibrahim, will act to boost his destructive charade,” DeVore added.

Mupok Aku

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