KUALA LUMPUR (July 16, 2008)
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) defacto leader Anwar Ibrahim was arrested by police near his home at about 1pm, an hour before the 2pm deadline given to him to show up at police headquarters to be questioned in connection with a sodomy allegation lodged against him by a former aide Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan three weeks ago.
Nurul Izzah ascorted by her husband and sister's at IPK KL.
Asked to comment on why Anwar was arrested before the 2pm deadline, Deputy Home Minister
Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh when met at the parliament lobby said:
"I heard he gave his statement to the Anti-Corruption Agency and after that he was supposed to go the police headquarters. But he went to his home instead of going to the IPK-KL and he could not possibly be at the police headquarters at 2pm."
He said however there were no untoward incidents as Anwar stepped into the police car voluntarily when asked to do so.
Asked if balaklava-clad masked commandos from the police special action squad (UTK) had been used to arrest Anwar, Wan Ahmad Farid said: "Not that I aware of. I was not there."
Wan Ahmad Farid however defended the police action saying they were only doing their job.
"We have a warrant of arrest on Anwar and the police were only out to execute the warrant. When the warrant was about to be executed, Anwar full cooperation and there was no incident," he said.
CID director Commissioner Mohd Bakri Zinin had yesterday given the 2pm deadline to Anwar after he did not show up for questioning on Monday, in protest of what he called police harassment and intimidation of his staff and family.
Anwar's lawyer Sankara Nair later told the press outside KL police headquarters Anwar was arrested over the alleged sodomy report.
"After this, the police will apply to the court for a remand order to hold Anwar for 24 hours or not more than 14 days to facilitate investigations. The case is being investigated under Section 377A of the Penal Code for alleged sodomy," Nair said.
Mohamad Saiful, 23, had lodged a police report on June 28 alleging that the former deputy prime minister had sodomised him on June 26 at a condominium in Damansara here.
Anwar, who denied the allegation, later filed a defamation suit against the former Universiti Tenaga Nasional student for making false allegations.
Sankara who was with Anwar when he was arrested by a police team about 50 metres from his (Anwar's) house in Segambut, claimed that police did not have the proper documents when making the arrest.
Sankar who said Anwar was still being questioned over the sodomy allegations and he is in good health, expressed regret over the high-handed manner the police had acted.
"We had already made it clear to the police that we will be at their office at 2pm as promised. In fact, we told ACA officers at Putrajaya that we had to go off early as we had this appointment with KL police and we rushed back but it was shocking when we saw over 10 personnel from the Special Action Squad stop us and arrest Anwar."
"Anwar was not handcuffed,:" he said, adding that although the UTK wore balaclavas, no firearms were used or visible on them.
Anwar however managed to make a phone call to his wife Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail about his arrest while on his way to the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.
Earlier, at the parliament lobby where news about his arrest broke out , Wan Azizah said she had received a call from Anwar in a police car around 1.05pm, that he had been arrested.
"We did not have enough time to talk and ask about the warrant of arrest, but they (the police) have detained him and he is on his way to the police headquarters in a police car," she said.
"I am not in the know of what was happening. It makes more suspicious of how YB Rembau (Khairy Jamaluddin) had brought up this and asked for DNA sample when we all did not know that this was going to happen. Does he know more?," she asked.
Earlier, Khairy had demanded that Anwar submit his DNA sample for the sodomy case and triggered a quarrel bewteen him and Wan Azizah.
To a question, Wan Azizah said she was apprehensive as 10 years had passed after Anwar was put into jail for sodomy charge and he is not that well after suffering a bad back which had required surgery.
"From the brief conversation, he (Anwar) said they (the police) will not be gentle," she added
Asked if Anwar was accompanied by his lawyers during arrest, she said: "I think he was alone because I got a call from his lawyers that they were following in another car.
"I am going to look after my kids now as that was what he told me to do," she said when asked she was going to see Anwar immediately at the police headquarters.
As news of his arrest spread, more than 300 people including opposition MPs gathered outside the city police headquarters at Jalan Hang Tuah, many shouting slogans calling for Anwar's release.
Police have tightened security around the building which is now heavily guarded by armed police.
PKR vice-president Azmin Ali, who returned to Parliament House from the police headquarters, said the police only allowed two lawyers, Wan Azizah and her daughter to see Anwar.
"Many Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs had gone to see Anwar but were disallowed, so we decided to come back to the parliament and raise the matter for debate," he told reporters at the lobby.
Asked if an urgent motion will be moved on Anwar's arrest, Azmin said there was no option left for PR MPs but to raise it immediately in the House.
"Anwar had promised that he will show up to give his statement to the police. He was rushing from the Anti-Corruption Agency to the police heaquarters at 2pm. Why did the police need to stop him on the road?," asked Azmin who described the police move as irresponsible.
Meanwhile PKR deputy President Syed Husin Ali urge the public and PRK member to remain calm and resist any provocation after Anwar's arrest .
Syed Husin told the press that the party had no immediate plan to conduct any protest of demonstration but will notify the public and media of any plan of the party.
"We do not rule out any forms of protest but they would be done on our terms. We will inform the public and media of our plans," said Syed Husin.
Meanwhile, PKR secretary general Datuk Salehuddin Hashim said that the party would not be responsible for any civil unrest that occurs over the next few days.
"If anything happens in the next few days, the smells of civil unrest, it does not come from this party," he said.
Syed Husin added that the party had received support after the arrest of Anwar and has received a few thousand calls.
He then added that he does not know how long Anwar will be detained for but said that the party will try to inform the public by 8pm.
Syed Husin condemn the arrest of Anwar, saying that: "There was no reason to take him as he has already agreed to go."
A statement issued by PKR said the events were deeply disturbing and indicated that the entire episode was a repeat of the actions taken against Anwar in 1998.
"We have been able to communicate with Anwar, who calls upon his supporters and the people of Malaysia to remain calm and to reject any attempts at provocation, which will give a pretext for an emergency situation to be declared," the statement said.