I met Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the Malaysian opposition, in the ornate surroundings of the Landmark Hotel in London this morning. He was remarkably relaxed for a man who is due to be put on trial, on charges of sodomy next week – which is a crime in Malaysia punishable with a long jail term. If convicted, this would be a return to a prison cell for Anwar. He was arrested in the late 1990s and served six years in solitary confinement on previous charges of sodomy (later over-turned) and corruption.
Yet for a man who is about to undergo a humiliating and dangerous ordeal, Anwar seemed in remarkably good form - relaxed, cracking jokes and outwardly convinced that he will beat the rap. I asked him how he could be so laid-back, given the trial that he is about to undergo. He replied cooly – “It’s not that I’m oblivious to it, or unaffected by it, but you have to just get on with life.” He knows that he can survive prison and he has the support of a staunch and politically-engaged wife and six daughters. Read more