At approx 3pm: Wan Azizah (C) wife of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim with her daughters arrive at the Police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on July 16, 2008 where her husband is being detained after his arrest. Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was arrested July 16 just as he was due to face police interrogation over allegations he sodomised a male aide, his lawyer and police said.
Lim Guan Eng, Penang chief minister and DAP secretary-general
The arrest of Anwar Ibrahim is high-handed and harsh action, and an ugly display of power against a popular opposition leader in the country.
Since Anwar had shown his willingness to cooperate fully with the investigation on the sodomy allegation against him. The police action was against the rule of law.
DAP demands the immediate release of Anwar. All Malaysians want to see the rule of law in action.
Shahrir Abdul Samad, domestic trade and consumer affairs minister
Anwar should clear his name and he should assist in the investigation to do so.
Khaled Nordin, higher education minister
The arrest was in accordance with the law. When the police report was made against him on the sodomy allegation, the police had to investigate (swiftly). It is just a process of the law and the public should not over-react on this matter. He (Anwar) has been asked to report to assist in the investigation and whatever it is, he can always seek redress from the law.
Shafie Apdal, unity, culture, arts and heritage minister
It was a reasonable act by the police in line with the rule of law. There should be no exception if it involves an MP or a politician. No one should be above the law. This is also to prove the sodomy allegations against Anwar, whether it is true or not. This is to avoid confusion among the public.
He should have come earlier but unfortunately he did not. It is the police’s responsibility for the law to be done accordingly so that the investigation could proceed.
Liow Tiong Lai, health minister
The police are just following the law of the country in order for them to proceed with the case. It is a responsible action (from them) and Anwar should cooperate. People should be aware that the law should be followed and the police are doing their job professionally.
Nobody should stop the police from doing their duty, including PKR supporters. It is right for the police (to arrest him) as Anwar had been given time to come forward.
Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, deputy home minister
I heard that he went to ACA today, and then he was supposed to go to KL police headquarters at 2pm, but he went home. He was supposed to go to IPK directly.We've got an arrest warrant for Anwar and police needed to take action. Anyway, Anwar gave full cooperation and there was no incident. Even if the arrest was 20 or 30 minutes earlier than expected, what's the difference?
Kamaruddin Jaffar, PAS secretary-general
We protest over the way he was detained, but we hope that with the two lawyers there, the process of law will be respected and that all his rights as a citizen of the country will be respected and no abuse of power of any sort is done towards him.
PAS will treat anybody innocent until the court of law decides otherwise. We will defend his rights and demand that he be treated respectfully as a citizen of Malaysia. No untoward treatment, no unnecessary limitations on his freedom as a rakyat and as a recognised leader in Pakatan Rakyat.
We will appeal for the public to remain calm and we have not given out any instructions or orders to create chaos or unrest because we know this will fit into the government’s need to have this kind of thing and restrict the rakyat more based on just two SMSes or whatever rumours already cordoned off Kuala Lumpur for three days and make life difficult.
We don’t want to make life difficult for anybody. We want the rakyat to remain calm.
Salahuddin Ayub, PAS Youth chief
Let the (legal) system solve this problem. I’m concerned, I hope that what happened in 1998 - the brutality of the police - will not happen again. We still believe in the system that if the police investigate in the proper way, justice will be upheld in the country.
Rallies? To that extent, no. As the secretary-general (Kamaruddin Jaffar) mentioned, we will stay calm and see first further developments of Anwar in the next few hours. We will wait until late this evening and we will decide later...
Tian Chua, PKR information chief
This is ridiculous. It’s unnecessarily provocative. It shows that we are a country that abuses the law. The arrest in my view is to instill fear in the public. In the Barisan Nasional’s eyes, it has become increasingly inconvenient that the people are being more courageous and assertive of their rights. They need to push (that) back in. It could be a preclude to a well-designed crackdown on the people’s movement.
(Question:Will you be calling for street demonstrations?)
We have to do everything necessary to ensure that the basic democratic values are respected. We will do what we can.
William Leong, PKR treasurer
It’s really mind-boggling why so much precautions and actions have been taken against one man... Is the Barisan Nasional so afraid of one man?
PKR has always been following the law, the principles, justice. The people have a right to assemble, the people have a right to freedom of expression, and the people and members of PKR have a right to show concern for their leaders.
There’s no need for any one organisation to do it. I’m sure that once news of this comes out, the people will come out (spontaneously) and show their concern for the safety of their leader Anwar Ibrahim. We are asking the people to stay calm because we do not want to cause any disorder or provide any excuse for the government to crack down.
Demonstrations cannot be ruled out, but if there is one, it will be organised and done in an orderly manner.
Param Cumaraswamy, former UN special rapporteur
I am surprised at the manner in which the police conducted themselves. This will go down very badly on the government because of how they handled the matter.
Karpal Singh, DAP national chairperson
It was wrong to detain him on the road since he already agreed to show up for an appointment. Anwar should be freed on police bail after his statement is recorded.
Dr Syed Husin Ali, PKR deputy-president
The way he was arrested was reminiscent of the forces sent to arrest him at his home in September 1998.
This event is deeply disturbing and indicated that this entire episode is a repeat of actions taken against Anwar in 1998.
Over the last few weeks, the government-owned media vilified and demonised him. His staff has been harassed. We see a conspiracy being hedged to thwart the political change that is imminent in Malaysia.
Sallehuddin Hashim, PKR secretary-general
Our concern is that our leader is taken away without being given a chance. This we believe smells of police persecution. It is strange that they did this when Anwar had already informed them of coming to police headquarters.
If anything happens within the next few days that smells of civil unrest we can assure it is not coming from this party.