Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Even Prime Ministers need to follow the law
Salleh Said Keruak
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad grumbled that he was not allowed to visit Anwar Ibrahim in hospital today. Mahathir of all people should know that one cannot simply drop in to meet a prisoner. There is a procedure involved and Mahathir, Pakatan’s Prime Minister-in-waiting, should be the first to set a good example and not abuse his power or violate the law. If not he would be teaching Malaysians that if you are ‘somebody’ then you need not follow the law.
Had Mahathir followed the proper procedure? Even wives cannot visit husbands in prison if the proper procedure is not followed. Wives and lawyers need to first be approved before they can visit prisoners and even then there is an approved time and date that the visit can be made. There is no such thing as ad hoc or surprise visits plus it cannot exceed the number of allowed hours a week.
Anyway, it appears strange that before this Mahathir had absolutely no interest in visiting Anwar in prison. Anwar was in prison from 1998 to 2004 and then from 2015 till now. But Mahathir never wanted to visit Anwar in prison. In 1998 Anwar was admitted into hospital because of his ‘mata lebam’ and Mahathir did not show any concern in wanting to visit him. Now, however, since Mahathir needs Anwar to endorse him as Pakatan’s Prime Minister-in-waiting, he is suddenly so excited about visiting Anwar in prison.