Anwar Ibrahim to remain in prison

With the departure of the irascible Dr Mahathir from the Malaysian political stage last October, there has been a lot of speculation that the former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, might be released from prison. Gaoled four years ago on charges of corruption and sodomy, Anwar had his day in court yesterday, seeking bail while awaiting the outcome of an appeal against the latter conviction for which he must serve nine years.

The Straits Times reports on the events surrounding the denial of bail, and how, much to the chagrin of Anwar, the judges refused to give reasons for the denial. All this should not come as too much of a surprise to Anwar and his supporters. With the prospect of an election in a couple of months, it was unlikely that Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi, would risk releasing the still popular Anwar to upset UMNO’s election apple cart. What does remain to be seen, is whether — after the election — Abdullah Badawi will deliver on his promise to allow more freedom of political expression.