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STS: Special Perks for Prisoner Anwar?
By Brendan Pereira

19/1/2001 7:56 pm Fri

[Kerajaan BN kini dalam dilema samada untuk membenarkan atau tidak Anwar dirawat di Munich. Jika ia diberi, layanan itu nanti dianggap tidak adil kepada banduan lain. Jika tidak diberi, kerajaan akan mengundang lebih banyak kritik dan demo jalanan.

Reformis tentu sudah sukar mempercayai kredibiliti pihak hospital. Mereka menghilangkan lapuran MRI, menyembunyikan fakta arsenik, dan asyik diugut oleh polis rahsia Mahathir supaya tidak mendedahkan rahsia sebenar. Dari sudut hak kemanusiaan dan undang-undang, Anwar berhak mendapat rawatan sebaiknya, tidak kira dimana-mana sekalipun.

Itulah bahananya bila kerajaan cuba bermain sembunyi-sembunyi dengan rakyat. Cuba kita fikirkan kenapa Anwar tidak dituduh mengada-ngada diracun arsenik sampai sekarang? Bukankah itu tanda kerajaan BN ketakutan? - Editor]

Source: The Singapore Straits Times
18th January 2001

Special perks for Prisoner Anwar?

Anwar wants treatment from German doctors, but Umno leaders, who seem likely to reject his latest request, say he is already too pampered

By Brendan Pereira


KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysian government is in a quandary - should the former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim be treated like a prisoner or should he be given some leeway?

That is the question the Mahathir administration will have to answer in the days ahead.

Anwar has requested to be operated on by surgeons from Alpha Klinik in Munich, Germany, despite objections from a panel of senior surgeons who have been treating him for over a month.

The former DPM was warded on November 24 after complaining of severe back pain from a slipped disc. He said that despite undergoing comprehensive physiotherapy, he still suffers pain and needs to undergo surgery.

The main plank of his argument is that the risk involved in the minimally invasive technique used by the Munich team is lower than in conventional surgery. As well, there is less scarring of tissue.

His lawyer S.N. Nair said yesterday: 'It is his constitutional right to obtain the legal representation and medical treatment of his choice. We will be prepared to go to court to argue our case.'

However, the panel of top surgeons from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital and the National University Hospital believe that the technique used by the team from Alpha Klinik is neither widely accepted nor suitable. Instead, they propose performing a microscopic dissectomy.

Anwar has not accepted the recommendation and insists that his request be put to the government.

In a telephone interview, Dr Horst Dekkers, head of spine surgery at Alpha Klinik, told The Straits Times that he had assessed Mr Anwar's SubjectMRI and found him a suitable candidate for the minimally invasive surgery.

He was not aware that his patient was in jail. 'So, I guess that rules him out from coming to Munich,' he said.

But he added that it was 'better to take Moses to the mountain than the mountain to Moses'.

Mr Nair said this was the reason his client wanted to be treated overseas.

The government knows that it is dealing with a political hot potato. If they accede to the request, it will only strengthen the perception that there is one rule for Anwar and another for the other prisoners.

If they turn down the request, they predict that Anwar's supporters will go another roadshow to discredit the government.

At the moment, the government is likely to reject his request to be treated by the team from Munich, arguing that slipped-disc injuries were not complicated procedures and could be performed by competent Malaysian surgeons.

Party leaders have noted that since he was jailed for corruption in 1999, he has been allowed to attend his brother's funeral, visit his ailing mother, allowed to stay in a cell the size of a studio apartment and given access to books and magazines.

Despite these concessions, his supporters have accused the government of ill-treating and trying to poison him, say party officials.

Said a senior Umno member: 'When good faith is being abused, it is time to say enough is enough.'