Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Anwar Ibrahim ashamed of Malaysian govt's unfair treatment of Indonesia's workers

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Visiting former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said here he was ashamed of a Malaysian policy under which Indonesian migrant workers could be unfairly punished for their offence like whipping.

"As a Malaysian I feel ashamed to watch them punished in this way. I fully disagree with such Malaysian treatment as it is unfair, un-Islamic and arrogant, and certain aspects including the law on whipping are exaggerated," he said here Monday.

Anwar said Malaysia seemed to forget the merits Indonesia have contributed to the building of Malaysia.

"During hardship, we need doctors, lecturers, teachers, professors and other skilled people (from Indonesia), but in good times we do not need and tend to ignore them," he said.

According to Anwar, Malaysia should not treat Indonesian migrant workers improperly and if the country is no longer in need of them, they are returned in a good manner.

"I express gratitude to Indonesia which has been prudent and patient in dealing with the problem. I can understand if Indonesian people are angry," he said.

Anwar also said he had once sent Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi a letter asking him about the policy.

"My wife Wan Azizah also once raised the issue at parliament saying that (such treatment of Indonesian workers) was unfair. If the Indonesian migrant workers were found guilty, just deport them," he said.

Anwar also disclosed that he was once accused of betraying nationalism by going to Jakarta for humanitarian reasons.

"I am human, I maintain humanity and I am not supposed to defend inhumanity," Anwar said.

Anwar was dismissed as Malaysian deputy prime minister in September 1998, following a dispute with then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad on economic policies, among other things.

Anwar was jailed and tried for corruption and sodomy, and was sentenced to 15 years in jail. He was released in September 2004, as he was found not guilty of committing sodomy. (*)

December 19, 2006



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