KUALA LUMPUR Feb 12, 2015:

The decision to jail Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be one that the Barisan Nasional-led government would live to regret.

In declaring this, former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the Opposition leader would “be a far more dangerous opposition inside prison than being outside”.

“If the government thinks that the Anwar factor has diminished with his incarceration now, he has become a bigger factor in the Malaysian political scene,” she said at a forum titled: “Anwar behind bars: The future of Malaysian politics”.

The forum was organised by Malaysiakini.

In a strong message to Pakatan Rakyat, however, Ambiga also warned the Opposition coalition to be united for the sake of the people if they were to capitalise on Anwar’s momentum.

“The people are anticipating and demanding such unity from Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

“With capable and intelligent people in your ranks, are you telling me that you cannot solve your problems?”

She was apparently directing her questions to fellow panellists, including Parit Buntar Member of Parliament Datuk Dr Mujahid Rawa (PAS), Batu Member of Parliament Tian Chua (PKR) and Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong (DAP).

She said Pakatan Rakyat needed to have stronger will power and less internal bickering to attract the people to its side.

The internal bickering, she said, was very tiring for the people who wanted the Opposition coalition to come up with a common policy and be convinced that Pakatan could provide a viable alternative government.

On Anwar’s conviction by the Federal Court, Ambiga slammed lead prosecutor Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah for preparing statements that personally attacked the Permatang Pauh MP (Anwar).

“It was totally uncalled for because never in my experience have I seen any prosecutor, including a deputy public prosecutor from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, have the need to produce a statement once the person is found guilty. There is no need.”

Ambiga said producing such statements to justify the judgment only showed their nervousness and this should not have been the case in the first place.

On Feb 10, the Federal Court rejected Anwar’s final appeal against his conviction for sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, in 2008.

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