“I was unable to meet with the prime minister and that had an impact on my schedule here in Kuala Lumpur. Officials from the United States have been in regular contact with Anwar Ibrahim and will continue to be in contact and we are watching his case,” she told reporters at a press conference at the Foreign Ministry here.
Clinton also stressed that her government was monitoring the trial and urged for it to be conducted without prejudice.
“It is well known that the United States believes that it is important for all aspects of the case to be conducted fairly and transparently. And in a way that it could bring confidence to the rule of law in Malaysia.
“Our embassy maintains good relations with both the ruling coalition and the opposition as important participants in the democratic process here in Malaysia and we will continue to support Malaysia’s progress in strengthening the democratic institutions and the rule of law,” she added.
Anwar, a former finance minister and deputy prime minister, is charged with sodomising Saiful at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara here between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.
He has denied the charge, describing it as “evil, frivolous lies by those in power” when the charge was read out to him. He is charged under section 377B of the Penal Code and can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years’ jail and whipping upon conviction. The trial is taking place 18 months after Anwar was charged in court in August 2008.
Anwar was charged with sodomy and corruption in 1998 after he was sacked from the Cabinet and was later convicted and jailed for both offences. He was freed in September 2004 and later resurrected his political career by winning back his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in a by-election in 2008, which had been held in the interim by his wife.
However, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman denied that Anwar was being politically prosecuted.
“If there is a political prosecution, I think the Barisan Nasional government is much smarter than that. We might have stopped Anwar before he become a Member of Parliament and put the trial in open court.
“What I can assure you as a member of Parliament and Cabinet that it is my interest and our interest to make sure that Anwar gets a fair trial because if there is such thing as political prosecution then what can happen to Anwar can certainly happen to us. So being an open trial, I think the world is able to judge what will be the outcome,” he said.
He also said that the Malaysian government will not stop Clinton from meeting Anwar.
“I have no objections at all that if Secretary Clinton wants to meet with Anwar because it is customary for leaders when they come to any country to see both government and opposition leaders,” he said.