Assange 'The World Tomorrow' episode 11: Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia

Posted Jul 3, 2012 by Anne Sewell
In this final episode, Julian Assange talks to Anwar Ibrahim, the main opposition leader in Malaysia. Assange and Ibrahim share many similar experiences.
Anwar Ibraham  opposition leader in Malaysia
Anwar Ibraham, opposition leader in Malaysia
Anwar Ibraham has twice served prison terms for what he calls politically-motivated criminal cases. However, he keeps fighting for democracy in Malaysia, a country he brands less democratic than even Burma.
Former deputy prime minister of Malaysia and now leader of the opposition party in that country, Ibrahim says that by democracy, he means, “an independent judiciary, free media and an economic policy that can promote growth and the market economy.”
But he told Assange that the Malaysian people should understand what abuses all these "elements of freedom" may bring to their country.
He says, “Arab Spring – one area clambering for freedom. Then we have Occupy Wall Street… and the limitations, the unbridled greed and the gap between the very rich and very poor, the complicity between the big business groups and politics – these we need to avoid.”
He says in the interview, "You want to do something good, you must not be corrupt. The moment you say you are for democracy, you become a Western stooge. The moment you talk about macro-economy you become a Soros agent."
While today Ibrahim's opposition party is gaining more support from the people, before this he went through six years of solitary confinement in prison, resulting from two criminal cases. He was first arrested for supporting land farmers in the north of Malaysia and demanding better treatment for them from the government. This gave him two years in detention without trial.
He was released after Mahathir Mohamad became prime minister - whose reforms he supported - and he became his deputy. However, in 1998, Ibrahim had a fall out with Mohamad, and was imprisoned for six years "for corruption and sodomy." He was then released in 2004, mainly due to campaigning by his wife, and the thousands of people who protested in the streets in his support.
In 2008, Ibrahim tried to get elected to parliament - he maintains that this was a real challenge, because his opposition party was not given even a minute of air-time. However, he says, “We won 10 out of 11 parliamentary seats, and so I believe we are ripe for some sort of Malaysian Spring through the electoral process.”
Again, in 2008, he was accused again of sexual harassment, and he suffered abuse from the national media on a daily basis, but despite this, his party gained even more support from the people.
After winning his case in January 2012, the Malaysian elections were looming and Anwar was tipped to win, but now he has recently been charged with "unauthorized assembly." On Monday this week fresh charges were laid over his part in a mass rally for electoral reforms. If found guilty on these charges Ibrahim might be sentenced to up to two years in prison and a fine, which will mean that he could be disqualified from participating in elections.
The full interview can be viewed in the video above.
Assange's talk show series "The World Tomorrow" has been an interesting ride, with interviews with some of the most controversial people in the world. It can only be hoped that he will beat the current extradition and other charges against him, and continue his work as an independent journalist, seeking the truth and telling it to the world.
Previous episodes are as follows:
Episode 1: Julian Assange 'The World Tomorrow' Episode 1 — Hassan Nasrallah
Episode 2: Assange — 'The World Tomorrow' — Ep. 2: Zizek & Horowitz (Video)
Episode 3: 'The World Tomorrow' — Ep 3: Assange & Tunisian president (video)
Episode 4: 'The World Tomorrow' — Ep 4. Rajab & El-Fattah: Arab Spring (video)
Episode 5: Assange 'The World Tomorrow' — Ep. 5: Surviving Guantanamo Bay
Episode 6: Assange 'The World Tomorrow' — Ep. 6: Ecuador fights its media
Episode 7: Julian Assange 'The World Tomorrow' — Ep. 7: Occupy movement
Episode 8: Assange 'The World Tomorrow' — Ep 8: Cypherpunks Part 1
Episode 8: Assange 'The World Tomorrow' Ep 8: Cypherpunks part 2 — Privacy
Episode 9: Assange 'The World Tomorrow' - Pakistan a hired gun to kill US enemies
Episode 10: Assange episode 10: 'End of the world as we know it?'