KUALA LUMPUR – Seeing her husband go through the motions of prison life is almost as tough for Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as it is for her husband, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The PKR president told Singapore’s The Straits Times that she would gladly trade places with 70-year-old Anwar to allow him the freedom of campaigning all day while she is the one imprisoned behind bars.
She said that Anwar usually makes light of the harsh realities of prison life, but said his age made it hard to move physically, including squatting on the floor, in addition to the mental strain from other inmates.
“He did mention that it was kind of getting a bit to him as he was not as young as before.
“He is looking thin and squatting on the floor was a bit hard for his back,” 64-year-old Permatang Pauh MP and Opposition leader was quoted as saying.
She said that Anwar’s second time in jail has taken a toll on his health, even though he remains upbeat by looking forward to family visits and maintains a positive outlook on life behind bars, such as a week of delicious food cooked by a hotel chef inmate, and a convict on death row who gave him a “terrible” haircut.
Ahead of the High Court decision on Anwar’s second sodomy conviction appeal this afternoon, Dr Wan Azizah said she hopes it will be in her husband’s favour and will result in his release ahead of the June 8 due date.
According to Dr Wan Azizah, an overturn of the conviction will mean that she will not have to defend the Permatang Pauh seat as Anwar will be allowed to contest in this year’s general elections.
She said her unwavering faith and respect for her husband is what drove her to take over as Permatang Pauh MP and the party presidency, which is why she wears her badge as Anwar’s No. 1 supporter with pride.
Political observers have said Dr Wan Azizah lacks Anwar’s natural charisma.
She has also been described as a seat warmer and “too nice” for politics since being thrust into the limelight in 1998 when Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister and later jailed for sodomy.
“She’s perhaps perceived as too nice and not ruthless enough for politics,” S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies analyst Rashaad Ali told the daily.
Meanwhile, according to The Malaysian Insight:
Disappointed Anwar fails to set aside sodomy conviction
ANWAR Ibrahim failed to set aside his sodomy conviction when his application was rejected by the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.
Justice Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamad rejected the premise of Pakatan Harapan de facto leader’s application, which was based on the grounds that the evidence against him was fraudulently obtained.
Nik Hasmat said it failed to meet the legal threshold to call for a fresh trial.
“It’s been three years since the case. I can’t help but feel that the plaintiff is using a civil procedure as a backdoor attempt to revisit the conviction,” she said in her judgement today.
Anwar, speaking to reporters later, expressed disappointment, and said he had wanted to see justice done.
“I was just looking for one judge, one avenue, for them to have to courage to show that they respect the law and justice.
“Otherwise, wait for GE14,” he said, to which supporters shouted “Reformasi.”
– Malay Mail / The Malaysian Insight