Selangor government evasive on Anwar billboards issue

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – February 24, 2016: Officials of the PKR-led Selangor government have been evasive over the politically controversial billboards which were erected by the roadsides throughout the state.

The billboards pointed out that PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was a “political prisoner” thus he need to be freed, inadvertently implying that he was unfairly sentenced by the court.

Among places where the billboards could be sighted were along stretches prone to heavy traffic in Subang Jaya, Cheras, Klang and Ampang.

According to the law, outdoor advertising is under the purview of the state government, or the district’s city council to be exact.

With that being the case, The Mole contacted the Selangor state executive committee chairman in charge of the local governments to get clarification on the matter, but things quickly went daunting after that.

“I’m sorry, why don’t you ask Suhaimi,” said the state’s Local Government and Kampung Baru development committee chairman Ean Yong Hian Wah before promptly ending the call.

Under the impression that Yong was referring to the state’s legal advisor Datuk Nik Suhaimi Nik Sulaiman, The Mole contacted his office only to be, once again, deflected from one personnel to another.

“I’m sorry I cannot help you and I also cannot give you Datuk Suhaimi’s phone number,” said an officer, one of the three who picked up the call there.

However, the political secretary of Menteri Besar Datuk Azmin Ali, Suhaimi Shafiei was earlier quoted by a news portal as saying that such billboards were not a contempt of court.

“There is nothing wrong about the billboards urging freedom for Anwar,” said Suhaimi, “There is no issue of being contempt of court.”

“It is just a campaign urging the people to come together in Anwar’s spirit to stand for justice and reject injustics,” he reportedly said.

Anwar had been imprisoned in the Sungai Buloh Prison since February last year after he was sentenced to five years’ jail for sodomy, a charge he and his supporters claimed to be “politically-motivated.”

Meanwhile, at least two police reports had been lodged so far to “implore” on Azmin to justify the need for the billboards.

The complainants wanted Azmin to come clean about the matter because according to them the message on the billboard was a clear-cut case of a contempt of court.

“The messages written on these billboards not only mock our country’s judicial system but are confusing as well,” said Umno Youth executive committee member Armand Azha Abu Hanifah at a press conference after lodging the police reports at Damansara Utama Police station today.

“It looks like they are trying to convince the people that Anwar was a victim of injustice,” he said.

Armand said that he is mulling to also lodge a report on the billboards to the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

He also warned Azmin that if he refused to respond, the matter will be brought up to Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

The Mole had tried to get a comment from Rahman but was not successful.



About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at zaidiazmi91@gmail.com.