Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Anwar Ibrahim Meeting With US Ambassador 2009 - Conclusions?

Sep 18, 2009 04:32



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/18/2019


Classified By: Ambassador James R. Keith for reasons 1.4 (b, d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In a meeting at the Embassy on September 14,
opposition coalition Peoples Alliance (PR) leader Anwar
Ibrahim told the Ambassador that, in line with reports in the
blogosphere, he had met with Prime Minister Najib Razak alone
for about two hours in early August. Najib had said that
Anwar,s trial was out of his hands and in the courts; Anwar
disagreed. Anwar said Najib expressed repeated concern about
allegations that he was connected with the 2006 death of
Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu. Anwar also touched on
plans for the opposition coalition Peoples Alliance to create
a joint platform, and previewed his plans to travel to the
U.S. in early October, when he will meet with senior USG
officials and prominent private citizens, including former
President Clinton and former Vice President Gore. END SUMMARY.


¶2. (C) Anwar Ibrahim, 62, is Chairman of the Peoples Justice
Party (PKR), a member of Parliament from Penang, former
ruling party member and Deputy Prime Minister (1993-98), and
currently leader of the opposition coalition Peoples Alliance
(PR in Malaysian), formed between the three main opposition
parties after their strong showing in the March 2008
elections. In a September 14 meeting with the Ambassador and
PolCouns, Anwar volunteered that he met Prime Minister Najib
Razak in early August, as had been reported in the
blogosphere. Anwar said he had initially asked Najib to meet
with all three heads of the PR parties: Anwar (although his
wife Wan Azizah is technically head of the PKR), Hadi Awang,
President of the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) and Karpal
Singh, President of the Democratic Action Party (DAP). Najib
declined, particularly objecting to including Singh in such a
meeting, but Anwar was still working on the idea. The
Ambassador commented that he thought such a meeting would be
a good idea, especially if its occurrence could be made
public to help solidify the idea that Malaysia's politics now
included as a permanent feature a need for ruling
party/opposition dialogue.

¶3. (C) Anwar said the one-on-one meeting with Najib lasted
two hours. The mood was stiff to begin with, but Anwar came
away satisfied that Najib had treated him with the respect
due to an opposition party leader. Najid had told Anwar that
there was nothing he could do about Anwar's pending sodomy
charges (ref A), saying that the matter was with the courts.
Anwar told the Ambassador that he had replied to Najib that
he was like an emperor who could do what he wanted to
determine the outcome. Anwar indicated that he did not
expect Najib to take action on his behalf, and for that
reason had resisted Najib's offers to meet again since the
August meeting. He made no prediction about the course of
his sodomy trial except to say that proceedings would be
delayed for at least two months.

¶4. (C) Anwar said Najib referred "three times" to concerns
about continuing allegations that Najib was involved in the
2006 death of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, rumored
to have been his mistress, whose body was blown up with
explosives in a remote area. Najib had said that questions
from the media about the case made it difficult for him to
travel abroad. He criticized Anwar for having mentioned the
case. (Note: Anwar joined 80 other opposition members of
Parliament in April 2009 in signing a letter to Malaysia's
King urging that Najib's appointment as Prime Minister be
delayed until an independent commission could determine
whether he was involved in Shaariibuu's death and consider
other allegations of misconduct. End Note.) Anwar said he
had replied that he only saw fit to mention the case after
Shaariibuu's father had visited him and presented a long list
of points and unanswered questions about her death. Anwar
said he had also told Najib that he was fortunate that more
information was not public, and, when Najib had asked what he
could do about the situation, had urged Najib to do the right


¶5. (C) Anwar said that the caning sentence imposed on a
Muslim woman showed Malaysia's hypocrisy, since many Muslims,
including sultans, regularly drank alcoholic drinks. A
further problem was the Syari'a law did not provide a
mechanism for administering the punishment. He said the
August 28 "cow head incident," when a group of Muslims
demonstrated against the relocation of a Hindu temple by
carrying and stepping on a severed cow's head, showed that
Malaysia's atmosphere was "ugly." In the 1980s, he said, a
Hindu temple had been desecrated and all communities spoke

KUALA LUMP 00000772 002 OF 002

out firmly against the deed; this time the Home Minister
(Hishamuddin Hussein) met with thedemonstrators and came to
an understanding that there would be no arrests. The later
arrests were only because of the public backlash. His one
comment on the economy was that Bank Negara information,
which he received as a courtesy as a former finance minister,
showed the the GOM budget would face shortfalls in early 2010
because of overspending now.

¶6. (C) Anwar said he wanted democracy to take hold in
Malaysia, so that it could be an example to the rest of the
Muslim world. During a recent visit to Jeddah, businessmen
and officials had told him privately that progress toward
open democracy in Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey was an
important for the Middle East. He lamented that the
Malaysian judiciary, which "used to be respected," had
deteriorated. Unprompted, he added that the International
Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute
(NDI) were doing a great job promoting democracy in Malaysia.


¶7. (C) Anwar touched briefly on a three-hour meeting earlier
on September 14 that he held with his coalition partners,
PAS's Hadi and DAP's Singh. He said that the had told the
two to resolve discord in Selangor -- one of the five states,
and Malaysia's wealthiest, that the PR coalition has governed
since its March 2008 election victory there -- over the sale
of alcohol, referring to a controversy that arose after a PAS
official ordered Selangor stores to stop selling beer. Asked
whether it was a challenge keeping the coalition in line,
Anwar said it was not easy but did not elaborate. (Note:
Media reports said that the PR agreed on September 14 to
issue a common political platform in December. End Note.)


¶8. (C) Anwar thanked the Ambassador for the Embassy's
issuance of new visa to him, indicating he planned to visit
several parts of the U.S. in early October and would meet
former President Clinton, former Vice President Gore and was
hoping to meet State and NSC officials in Washington. He
planned to return to Malaysia in time for the next
by-election in Bagan Pinang, in the State of Negeri Sembilan,
on October 11. (Note: The PR has won seven of eight
by-elections since the March 2008 general election, but the
ruling National Front coalition is widely expected to win
this next race. End Note.)

Source Wikileaks

Another Anwar Wikileak

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