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Full text of Anwar's first political statement since his arrest


KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 (AFP) - Here is the full text of the "message" issued by
Malaysia's ousted deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim, conveyed to reporters by his
wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on Saturday after she and her six children visited
Anwar in prison:

1. My release from ISA detention is Mahathir's gimmick because of his fear of
the people's wrath and the reaction of the international community. The plan was
to get me out of ISA detention before APEC begins. I deplore the irresponsible
use of instruments of government, including the police, to continue to arrest
people under the ISA on the pretext of safeguarding national security. In fact,
this is a desperate act of Dr. M. to maintain power and hold office so as to
save his family and cronies.

2. Notwithstanding whatever is said to the contrary, the treatment given to
detainees is inhumane, including placing detainees under solitary confinement,
forcing detainees to issue conciliatory statements as conditions for release.
The photograph in the Utusan Malaysia (15th Oct 1998) which gives the impression
that I was having a sumptuous meal in comfortable surroundings, is both
mischievous and misleading. The fact of the matter is, this was the first decent
meal that was ever served me at Bukit Aman. All this while, the food given to me
was absolutely inedible, wrapped in plastic. As such, it is not surprising that
I have lost 18 pounds in weight. I do not deny the friendly attitude of most
police personnel in their treatment towards me and many were quite disdainful of
Mahathir and his dictatorial methods.

3. I continue to call for the reform of government to ensure the rule of law and
democracy. There must be an end to the abuse of instruments of government. We
must rid the country of corruption, cronyism and nepotism. We must save the
country from being exploited by a handful of individuals out to manipulate the
economy to amass wealth for themselves. I am aware of the fear and reluctance of
many in the leadership to express their views, so as to protect their own vested
interests and to avoid retribution from the dictator. But they must take heed of
the people's wishes of the rakyat (people) before it is too late. The rakyat has
the commitment and conscience to continue the struggle but the leaders must have
the courage of conviction.

4. The detention was an attempt to weaken my resolve. They have failed. The
brutal assault on me while under police custody was clearly a warning from Dr. M
and the IGP (Inspector-General of Police) that they will not tolerate Reformasi.
They are again mistaken. It is time for change.

5. They will continue to manipulate the media so as to distort the true state of
affairs and the current upheavals in the country. The government-controlled
media has totally lost credibility. This explains why the alternative media and
the internet have gained popularity immensely.

6. The current hysteria against the leaders and organisations in neighbouring
countries and the international community for expressing support for me and
calling for my release from detention is symptomatic of the deep-seated sense of
insecurity of Dr.M, even though he takes great pains in hiding the fact.

7. Legitimate reasons for justice by the people are met with harsh methods
normally used in combatting militant communists. This again reflects how
desperate Dr. M is that he will resort to any means to cling to power. The ISA
is no longer an Internal Security Act but Save Mahathir Act.