What drives a person to leadership? Case 1 – Anwar Ibrahim

24 Jun

I hope to evolve this into a series that covers a number of leaders.  We will start with Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minster of Malaysia, who was thrown into jail in APRIL 1999 for 6 years, is now back with a force and who has united an opposition that has been un-united for 50 years and is on the brink of toppling the BN government which has ruled over Malaysia for the last 50 years (since independence) .

So where does he get the energy and motivation? What keeps him going?  Our answers lie in both what haunts hims and what his ideal are…


We start by reading a letter he sent out in 1999 while in Prison:

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah, in responding to criticism against his person and his office, has once again displayed his arrogance and bad faith. Adopting the tone and manner of his boss, Dato Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he tries to avoid answering his critics – the latest among whom was Mohamed Ezam Mohamed Noor – by threatening to use the Sedition Act against them. He hopes that this will put a stop to accusations that his office is negligent and impotent.

I repeat my reproach of Mohtar and his office over the practice of both selective and malicious prosecution and for colluding with political conspirators. Mohtar stands out as the most repulsive attorney-general in Malaysian history, one who would pawn principles and the dignity of his office for mere self interest. Indeed, he has reduced the attorney-general’s office to the level of a department subservient to the executive branch of government.

Following are among my reasons for saying so:

1. Lim Guan Eng, Member of Parliament for Kota Melaka, was prosecuted for championing the cause of an underaged Malay girl who had reported that she had been raped. But the case against Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik, accused of a sex crime and corruption, was dropped.

2. The affidavit presented by Mohtar’s office in the case of Dato Nallakarupan was tailored to suit Mahathir’s political strategy. It received wide publicity on 3 September 1998, a day after I was sacked. This affidavit was presented together with one prepared by Musa Hassan, the official henchman of Tan Sri Rahim Noor (the former Inspector-General of Police). The contents include accusations of graft involving 60 million ringgit, sex offences and that I leaked government secrets and served as secret agent to a foreign country.

3. He ignored my verbal assurance, which was backed by a letter from my solicitor, that I would surrender to the police any time I was required to. Instead there was a Gestapo-style raid on my residence that could easily have resulted in bloodshed. Under his instruction, I was detained under Section 377B of the Penal Code.

4. His right-hand man, Dato Gani Patail, was at Bukit Aman on the night of 20 September 1998, while criminal violence was being inflicted on me in the same building. It was afterwards decided that I should be detained under the Internal Security Act so that my injuries would be concealed from the public. This led to widespread suspicion that his office was involved in a conspiracy to cover up a crime.

5. Gani knew I was severely wounded and saw for himself the condition I was in when I first appeared in court. Despite this, he tried to prevent me from making a complaint, saying the injuries were too slight. It is patently clear that he lied in court. In fact, he has lied to the entire nation. Coming from a senior official, such a blatant attempt to deceive must count as a serious crime indeed. It is nothing less than abetment in a cover-up.

6. In dealing with the issue of my injuries, Mohtar deliberately ignored the report submitted by police investigator ACP Mat Zain Ibrahim, which implicates Gani and Deputy Public Prosecutor Azhar Mohamad. They plotted to downplay the findings of doctors and specialists who examined me. Instead, Mohtar appointed his own consultant, Dr Abdul Rahman Yusof, who gave his findings without examining me. Mohtar said in a statement that some of my claims were false. The royal commission which inquired into my injuries found, on the contrary, that Rahim Noor’s assault was so severe that I could have died. Mohtar’s negligence and feebleness in handling the case – how he dragged his feet before acting upon the police and medical reports — were plain for all to see.

7. The statutory declaration of lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon implicates Mohtar, Gani and Azhar in a scheme to pressure Nallakarupan to disgrace me in exchange for a guarantee of release from prosecution that could lead to the death sentence. But Dato Nalla would rather face prosecution than lie.

8. Mohtar and his office have ignored serious allegations by Dr Munawar Anees, Sukma Darmawan, Mior Abdul Razak, Azmin Mohamad Ali and others that the police were guilty not only of extortion and torture to extract false confessions that they had been sodomised but also of calumny against me, Ustaz Dato Harun Din and the late Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad. Instead of prosecuting the police or even investigating the allegations, Mohtar’s office has decided to prosecute Sukma, Mior and Azmin for questioning police methods.

9. Mohtar connived with Mahathir to use malicious prosecution as a threat to pressure me to resign. Mahathir denies this, but I spoke of this threat even before 20 September 1998, in front of scores of friends. Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak was reported on 5 October to have confirmed that there was indeed such a threat.

10. Mohtar discussed with Tun Daim Zainuddin proposals to charge me with either leaking government secrets or committing sex offences if I refused to resign. Tun Daim intimated this to me on 12 August 1998. In court, I asked why in the world would the Attorney-General plot and scheme with Tun Daim? Can money buy and decide everything?

11. Throughout my trial, Mohtar used the full strength of his official power, his penchant for issuing threats and his arrogance and vengefulness to destroy my character. Then, after doing everything he could to shame me as much as possible, he changed the charges. In fact, a witness testified to being intimidated and to catching prosecutors and prosecution witnesses in the act of planning this vilification.

12. During the trial, I was prepared to provide proof that there was a political conspiracy in a case of selective prosecution. This pertained to a document, signed by Gani and presented to me by Mohtar, recommending that a senior minister be prosecuted for corruption. He can make excuses, or threaten me with the Official Secrets Act, but here nevertheless was proof that he practises selective prosecution under Mahathir’s direction. Furthermore, as I stressed in court, the Official Secrets Act cannot be used to cover up the malpractices, corruption and greed of those in power.

13. I have referred to personal letters which three corporate figures wrote to Daim during his previous stint as Finance Minister. These letters pledge to Daim’s person funds and corporate shares worth a total of nearly half a billion ringgit. Mohtar, who is wont to loquaciously condemning corruption among minor officials, seems to be tongue-tied in this particular case. He has to wait for Mahathir to issue an order of selective prosecution, so close is the cooperation between them.

14. During the trial, I was prepared too to provide evidence of selective prosecution by mentioning serious sex charges against Mahathir. However, I do not have Mahathir’s capacity for the cruelty that is born of vengefulness; I would not name the sex partners or the witnesses. After all, he is 73 years old and a grandfather. My intention here is only to show how Mahathir, using Mohtar, would seize upon any opportunity to apply selective prosecution against those he disfavours, even if it means concocting evidence. What about Rahim Tamby Chik’s case and other cases, implicating others who are still in Mahathir’s favour? What about the official said to have used his private jet to import women through the VIP lounge at Subang? Customs and immigration officials know about this. And what has happened to allegations that a minister was involved in the Mustakizah murder case?

15. I tried to mention in court many other cases of corruption, but these were declared irrelevant. Indeed, prosecuting officers would jump to their feet to object every time I tried to present evidence of corruption, especially if Mahathir’s or Daim’s name was mentioned. I referred to the Perwaja issue, to the nation’s loss of nearly 6 billion ringgit, saying I had documents showing that Mahathir directed Tan Sri Eric Chia to give a contract to a certain firm. Is it not corruption when Mahathir, who is directly responsible for Petronas, approves nearly 2 billion ringgit for his son? And what about the approval of privatisation projects, contracts and corporate shares for his children, whose wealth runs into billions of ringgit and who sit as directors in hundreds of companies?

16. Mohtar too has studied the Anti-Corruption Agency’s reports regarding leaders who own enormous wealth in the form of corporate shares, land, and personal and family property. But these documents are simply filed away. And, surely, Mohtar is well aware of Daim’s obvious wealth, which he accumulated during his previous tenure as Finance Minister. In fact, he has now become the one Finance Minister with a bank of his own, the International Bank of Malaysia. All of these are open secrets, but the practice of selective prosecution has obstructed the effort to eradicate corruption and establish justice.

I do believe that by issuing this firm statement, I expose myself to further prosecution on various counts, including corruption, sex offences and treason, for which evidence will be vigorously invented. The prosecution’s intrigues are well known to the people and they will make their judgment. Mahathir’s lust for revenge is not yet satisfied, even though I have been physically assaulted and jailed for six years. The instruments of state, including Mohtar and the Attorney-General’s Office and media organisations under the control of the powers-that-be and wealthy businessmen will be worked to their maximum capacity to blind the people to injustice, corruption, cronyism and nepotism, especially as the election approaches. So-called leaders who are unjust and corrupt are terrified of the possibility that I would continue to expose their misdeeds. I will be kept away from the people. But they can plan; it is Allah Almighty Who disposes.

I am not sure why Mohtar’s ill will towards me had increased. It could have been caused by talk about the ACA investigating a report that he had holidayed in Italy with a corporate figure. I explained in my letter to the PM, dated 25 August 1998, that I knew nothing of such an investigation although it was alleged that I had ordered it. Nevertheless, I would not have prevented the ACA from doing its work. Another possible cause was a rumour spread by an ambitious lawyer that I would have him replace Mohtar as soon as I had the opportunity. This was false, but it nevertheless worried Mohtar.

I would like to stress to Mohtar that his worth is measured by his courage in ensuring justice without fear or favour, even if it means acting against a national hero or a wealthy merchant. It is not counted courageous to persecute an ordinary policeman for receiving a 20-ringgit bribe or a minor official for taking a tiny plot of land while we allow the big-time marauders to run amok, fleecing the nation of millions of ringgit and grabbing land by the thousands of acres.

Mohtar has no claim to glory when all he does is act as a gofer in a conspiracy serving the interest of a greedy and corrupt political clique. He should set himself free and repel attempts by the PM or Daim to control him. He should drop his phony conceit; he has no reason to feel great over his ability to make threats against young people who voice their concern over injustices in our system, including the practice of selective and malicious prosecution.

Anwar Ibrahim
Sungai Buloh Prison
May 20, 1999


Another piece by Anwar:


ANWAR delivered the following address in court on April 14, 1999 after Judge Augustine Paul pronounced him guilty on charges which most people believe were trumped up.

First, I would like to thank my lawyers, who have conducted the defence with such dedication and spirit. They deserve the greatest admiration.

Right from the beginning, I had no hope whatsoever that I would be tried fairly. I say this not out of prejudice; I base my statement on information I have been privy to. When I was in government, many senior officials, noting my reformist attitude, used to complain to me about all kinds of afflictions within the government machinery, including the judiciary. A very senior judge, out of his own volition, submitted a detailed report which showed how serious the crisis in the judiciary was. He gave several examples of personal misbehaviour and professional misconduct in the handling of court cases.

I have no hope of justice. The charges are part of a political conspiracy to destroy me and ensure Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s continued hold on power at whatever cost, even if it means sacrificing whatever little is left of the judiciary’s integrity. “You resign or I charge you.” That was the ultimatum the Prime Minister gave on the morning of 2 September 1998. Isn’t this corruption? The Prime Minister uses the judicial system as a tool to exert political pressure.

All the instruments of government–including the Attorney-General’s Office, the Police and, indeed, the Judiciary–are under the Prime Minister’s thumb. In the days of absolute monarchies, the king could do no wrong, rex non potest peccare. That is precisely how this country is ruled now; members of the ruling clique are immune from prosecution and those who go against them are humiliated and disgraced through trumped-up charges.

At the begining of the trial, the Honourable Judge exhibited some courage when he cautioned members of the administration against commenting on the case. But courage left him when the Prime Minister blatantly committed contempt of court by remarking that there would be chaos if I was found innocent. Was this not a warning to the court? And neither did the Attorney-General utter a single word. However, the honourable judge recovered his “courage” and “vigour” when my lawyers tried to question his rulings.

Indeed, this trial has influenced perception regarding our judiciary, not just among Malaysians but the international community as well. It has opened the people’s eyes. The court, in ruling that a political conspiracy was irrelevant and that certain witnesses were irrelevant, has helped me prove to the people that my prosecution was indeed part of a political conspiracy. I could not guarantee achieving this on my own even if I were to go on a nationwide campaign.

Charges were trumped up against me because I worked against corruption, power abuse, cronyism and nepotism in government. And the judge has declared: “Let the whole country be corrupt; it still has nothing to do with this case.” But corruption is precisely the issue; it was because I opposed corruption that I was expelled and it is because of corruption that this case cannot be tried fairly.

And while I am accused of corruption, the Attorney-General has not brought an iota of evidence—indeed he has not even tried to prove—that I used my position to enrich myself or my family. But the Prime Minister has directed Petronas to bail out Konsortium Perkapalan, which is owned by his son, Mirzan Mahathir. Isn’t this corruption? In my possession there is a report of an investigation over corrupt practices by a cabinet minister which was submitted to me by the Attorney General. It ends with this sentence: “The Anti-Corruption Agency and the Prosecution Division of the Attorney-General’s Office recommends that B1 (the minister concerned) be charged in court.” The report was signed on 14 March 1995 by a prosecutor named Gani Patail. And I have letters written by corporate figures to Tun Daim Zainuddin (when he was Finance Minister) which conclude thus: “In the event of my death or permanent disablement, this letter shall serve as irrefutable proof of your claim against my estate.” The amounts involved run into hundreds of millions of ringgit. I repeat my challenge to the ruling clique to give full disclosure regarding the approval of licences, contracts and shares by Tun Daim and me and privatisation approvals by the Economic Planning Unit.

The corruption charge against me is not a charge concerning pecuniary gain but one of abuse of power. But in the process of prosecuting me there have been so many startling incidences of abuses of power by the Prime Minister which point clearly to the existence of a conspiracy.

Coercion, ultimatums, even torture were used by the parties charged with the responsibility to fabricate evidence against me. I have evidence of such a conspiracy: from the involvement of the Attorney-General in the police affidavit calculated to vilify me in Dato’ Nallakaruppan’s case, alleging sexual misconduct on my part, treason, leaking government official secrets and corruption, to the cases of coercion and torture of Dr. Munawar Anees, Sukma Darmawan, and Mior Abdul Razak, the statutory declaration of Manjeet Singh, to the meeting between the police and Gani Patail at Bukit Aman on the night of 20th September 1998. But the judge simply did not have the patience to hear all this. As Socrates once said: “A judge must be patient enough to hear the evidence of both parties.” On the contrary, in my case, my counsel Zainur Zakaria was found in contempt of court and others were warned that they too would be subject to the same punishment. I have overwhelming evidence concerning the deception and conspiracy but all this was brushed aside; even more so when the names Dr Mahathir and Tun Daim were mentioned, as if the court was more interested in protecting them than getting to the truth.

When I was still in office I referred to the need for legal reform, the need for the independence of the judiciary to be further strengthened. Many of the rich and powerful did not take kindly to my statement while many of the people read my statement with scepticism. Now they are no longer sceptical. As they say, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. The actions of a small group of people have destroyed the judicial institution. Only that I had unwittingly become the victim in order for people to be convinced about this. I have no regrets whatsoever. Perhaps this is just a small sacrifice on my part to convince the people how urgent and vital is the need for reform in this country, especially in the police force, the AG’s Department and the Judiciary.

Justice is the soul of a nation. Our tragedy is that there are people who are prepared to sell their souls for a pittance.

I was brought up on the adage: a tiger’s legacy is its stripes, a man’s legacy is his name. So, if I may ask, what is a judge’s legacy? Surely nothing if not his judgments. If his judgments be just, then they would be remembered for generations. Otherwise, his injustices will stink till Kingdom come.

I have been dealt with a judgement that stinks to high heaven. This is an absolute disgrace. An interpretation of corruption which is ludicrous, nauseating, in fact, when one considers how in Malaysia billions of ringgit of the people’s money are being squandered by leaders to save their children and cronies. They have made greed and unethical behaviour their private domain, rendering themselves above the law.

I have been convicted, but the people know that my conviction was according to the script written by the conspirators. It is not the Court but the conspirators who are sending me to jail. But remember that man is made of body and soul. My body may be incarcerated, but my soul remains free. However, there are those who are outwardly free, but their spirits remain forever shackled, imprisoned by their rank and status. Indeed their souls can be bought and sold.

This trial has been political persecution hiding behind the cloak of the law. I would advise the conspirators to stop this nauseating charade. To all Malaysians, regardless of race or age, I am grateful for their support. Hold fast to the struggle. Love Malaysia. And if we do love Malaysia then the fight against injustice, to establish justice and freedom, must be invigorated. The corrupt and despicable conspirators are like worms wriggling in the hot sun. A new dawn is breaking in Malaysia. Let us cleanse our beloved nation from the filth and garbage left behind by the conspirators. Let us rebuild a bright new Malaysia for our children.


If you look at what he talks about and then look at all the expose’s that are coming to light, example the surfacing of the Lingam Video, the themes that are uniting the “opposition” together – like the abolishment of ISA, one can almost sense where Anwar’s energy is coming from.


To succeed at the TOP, you need to be fueled by an internal desire, belief or even anger/hurt that is so strong it causes you to act on it.  


1 Comment

Posted by on June 24, 2008 in Business, General, Leadership


Tags: ,

One response to “What drives a person to leadership? Case 1 – Anwar Ibrahim

  1. Kayown

    June 25, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    So basically vengeance … But the question is … what else after that? Anwar is just as bad as Pak lah when it comes to amassing fortune and selling the country off.


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