Movement for reform
by Brendan Pereiera
Q: Were the police aware that Anwar was going to instigate trouble on Sunday?
A: No. In fact, they didn't expect this thing to happen.
They have been monitoring his activities but they did not expect any violence. The police were caught off- guard.
Q: Many people still do not believe the allegations.
A: It is quite true that a lot of people still believe in him.
And I must say that, even for me, it took me years to believe the allegations against him.
I was told by the former Inspector-General of Police Tun Haniff. I dismissed it as being false.
Then, last year, I was told again. I thought it was being spread out of sheer jealousy against a man who was going to be the leader of the party.
I had incontrovertible proof that it was true before I believed.
But other people cannot very well get the information that I got.
I interviewed the people he sodomised, the women he slept with and the driver who brought the women to the place where he met them.
I told them. Look, if you are being forced into making a confession, tell me. I will protect you. Several of them said that he was not fit to be the prime minister.
Q: Are you concerned that the police were too violent or heavy-handed in breaking up Monday's demonstrations?
A: I don't think they were violent. When you are dealing with an unruly crowd a certain amount of force has to be used. I think it was minimal. No one was injured.
Q: Will Anwar be charged in court?
A: Yes, he will be.
A: That is up to the police. That is not something I interfere with.
Q: Anwar said that he was ready to challenge you.
A: I am going to retire. I had already named him as my successor.
He didn't need to challenge me. But he did in fact plan to overthrow me. I knew about it but I chose to ignore it.
If he was chosen by the party, then so be it. If he thinks that he could fight against me, I think I had a reasonable chance.
Q: The Australian Prime Minister has suggested that your government is heading towards authoritarianism.
A: I think you are authoritarian if you make an observation before you find the real facts. One should listen to both sides and then you can make a very reasonable opinion. The Prime Minister is wrong, absolutely.
Q: Did you tell Umno leaders what Anwar did so that they can explain?
A: It is difficult for me to explain. And I think it will be difficult for them to explain.
I tell you what the police tells me. They had not only performed sodomy. During the process, he was -- I don't know what you call it -- he was masturbating the man.
Do I go around town or the world telling that this is what my deputy was doing.
I cannot understand how a man can invent a story like that.
This is what the man told the police. This behaviour is despicable. And this is someone who says that other people's behaviour is despicable.
Q: Is it going to be extremely difficult for people in rural areas to believe that Anwar did these things?
A: It is difficult for me to believe. It is difficult for my colleagues to believe. It is definitely very difficult for us to go and tell a whole group of people, including women and children what had happened.
We are a very conservative society, we don't talk about these things.
Q: Now that you don't have a successor, does that mean you will have to reconsider your own plans and stay on?
A: I hope not for too long. I must have a man who is trustworthy and honourable.
Q: What effect has the episode had on the image of Malaysia?
A: For the time, I am quite sure that friends of Anwar, people who like him, are going to feel very bad about it. I have received messages from some of his friends accusing me of being a dictator.
But eventually truth will prevail. If the truth is that he has not done anything, then that is the truth. But if the truth is proven, I hope people will accept it.
Q: Why was the trial (of two men convicted of sodomy) so quickly organised on Saturday?
A: Well, we are faced with the problem of not having credibility. The police have been accused by Anwar himself of being biased.
The police are anxious as anybody else to get the truth out. The choice of timing is certainly not mine.
If I had my way, I would rather not have it happen during the Commonwealth Games. But I have no means of telling the police "look you have to accept being vilified by Anwar and his family because of the Games.'
Q: Were foreigners involved in the riots?
A: I was told that there were some Indonesians, Pakistanis. I don't know where they came from.
Q: What will happen to the reform movement now that Anwar is under the ISA?
A: There is no reform movement. This is a cover up. He does not want people to focus on his misdemeanour. He wants people to talk about how great a leader he is. He knows that eventually he will have to face the court. He is a very clever man, a clever operator.
Q: What is the situation in the country?
A: The situation in the country is still stable.
The vast majority of the people in the country do not want to have this kind of activities.
We do not go for street demonstrations, and for violence on the streets. This is the feeling of the people of this country. That is why we have always been peaceful.
Q: Anwar has accused you of corruption. Are you going to bring charges against him?
A: No, I am going to ask him to prove the corruption. I am not interested in that part. I cannot accept a man involved in sodomy to become a leader in this country.
Q: Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail believes that her husband's life is in danger and that he will be injected with HIV virus.
A: I think she is a doctor. She knows that if you inject the HIV virus today, you cannot prove you have HIV today.
This is the first time in the history of Malaysia that the police is accused of in_ jecting people with virus.
Q: Anwar's reform movement says that the government is not Islamic enough.
A: I don't know what is Islamic about being a sodom_ ist. At this point of time, I consider myself a better Muslim than him.
Q: You were aware of the allegations last year. What hap_ pened then?
A: According to the police, Anwar used his influence to get the police to arrest the two people who made these allegations and force them to make a retraction. So I thought the case was closed.
B: Will a state of emergency be imposed.?
A: There is no state of emergency.
Sure there are a few thousand people but the vast majority of 22 million people living in this country are quite happy. I don't think there is any cause for emergency to be declared.
Q: Do the authorities have any other evidence against Anwar apart from testimony of witnesses?
A: I think they have other evidence.
Q: Human rights groups accuse you of being judge and jury in this case.
A: The party does not base its decision on what the court decides.
The party has always acted against members of the party who faced allegations on their behaviour.
Q: Has the image of the coun try suffered?
A: The good image of the country has been damaged by Anwar behaving in this manner.
He chose to make a political issue out of his dismissal.
Once the truth is known, even his best friends will turn against him.