On the 10th of November, our KEADILAN delegation, myself and YB Tian Chua was given the privilege to meet with the Vice President of the Philippines, His Excellency Jejomar “Jojo” Cabauatan Binay, Sr., as well as the honour of being welcomed by Former President of the Phillipines and the current President Mayor of Manila, Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada.

The Honourable Vice President Binay expressed his deep concern with regards to the health situation of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. A copy of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)’s report on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s flawed trial, as encapsulated in Mark Trowell’s book, “The Prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim: The Final Play” was also passed during our meeting.

President Mayor Joseph Erap Estrada also welcomed us in Manila’s City Hall. We were most appreciative of his commitment to championing the cause of freedom fighters.

This is his second public and official support for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the first was 17 years ago when Nurul Izzah Anwar had first met with President Mayor Estrada. Estrada continues to publicly decried the politically motivated detention of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The UNWGAD has opined that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is being detained arbitrarily and illegally, and the immediate action that is recommended by the group is to release Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim immediately and to restore his political rights that was taken away from him.

The UNGWAD is a five-member independent and impartial body appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, and is currently comprised of experts from Australia, Benin, Mexico, South Korea, and Ukraine.  It is mandated to consider and render opinions about alleged cases of arbitrary detention. The Government of Malaysia held a seat on the UN Human Rights Council from 2006-2009, and 2010-2013. As such, we believe, that the Malaysian government should abide by this opinion and its recommendations.

While we observe respect for the sovereignty of respective countries, it is also crucial to consistently highlight human rights transgressions; part and parcel of the culture of constructive engagement, crucial to a meaningful for ASEAN.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has become a symbol for the deteriorating rights of Malaysians; signaling the beginning of persecutions against many other legislators and leaders of civil society. Such a troubling development for Malaysia brings about concern from all quarters.

Philippines is a good friend to Malaysia, and we certainly hope that the reports by the IPU, and the UNWGAD will push the Malaysian administration to right the wrongs it has committed against our democratic tradition.

We have high admiration for the courage of the Filipino people. Their struggle and sacrifice in pursuit of democracy continue to inspire us. To this end, the struggle for a better Malaysia continues.

Nurul Izzah Anwar, MP, Vice President and Elections Director
People’s Justice Party (KEADILAN)

Chua Tian Chang, MP & Vice President
People’s Justice Party (KEADILAN)