Nur Jazlan Irked by Anwar’s Statements from Jail

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Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed is irked by statements issued by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Deputy Home Minister warned the PKR de facto leader against issuing statements without approval from the director-general of Prisons Department, saying it could affect his jail term.

“Lately, several statements have been issued by Anwar. I wonder whether he really made the statements,” Nur Jazlan was quoted by Bernama as saying.

“If Anwar’s statements were relayed through third parties and were not approved by the Prisons Department, then it is an offence that can affect the jail period,” he added.

He cited as example Anwar’s statement welcoming Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) decision on Sunday to name Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the coalition’s prime ministerial candidate.

Nur Jazlan said action could be taken against the third parties who relayed Anwar’s statements, including stopping them from meeting with the opposition leader.

On Jan 10, Mahathir was barred from visiting Anwar.

Visibly disappointed, he told reporters that he was informed by the prison authorities that they had received “orders from above” in declining his visit.

“I was told that the minister of home affairs has barred me from visiting Anwar,” he said.

Abdul Razak Ghazali

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Home Minister, denied he had instructed the prisons authorities to stop the visit, adding that the decision was made entirely by the Prisons Department.

Prisons Department director-general Zulkifli Omar said Mahathir should have submitted his application like all others.

He said in the past, it had allowed the Selangor menteri besar and Penang chief minister to visit Anwar as they had made prior application.

“In Anwar’s case, priority is given to Anwar’s family to visit him at the Cheras Rehabilitation Centre,” he said.

Umno leaders, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his deputy Ahmad Zahid and Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Aziz had recently visited Anwar, who was recovering from a shoulder surgery.

Anwar has been serving a five-year jail term over a sodomy conviction, and is expected to be released on June 8.

According to lawyer and Padang Serai MP N Surendran, the Prisons Department could have used its discretion to allow Mahathir to visit Anwar, adding that there were no procedures laid down for such circumstances or scenario.

“You can make a formal request but there is nothing that prevents the prison authorities from authorising Mahathir’s visit once he is already there, especially when you take into consideration that various ministers, the prime minister and deputy prime minister had also visited Anwar in hospital.

“What was the reason for not granting this request?

“This is an elder statesman and former prime minister that is coming to visit Anwar.

“So, since it was in their discretion to allow the visit, why didn’t the prison authorities allow it?

“They didn’t allow it because they simply didn’t want to allow it and not because of the issue of needing a formal request,” Surendran was quoted saying by FMT.

The lawyer said the Prisons Department’s excuses, including that the visit will be controversial, were “weak and conflicting”.

“It is petty and objectionable for them not to allow the visit while giving different excuses on why they barred Mahathir from visiting Anwar,” he was quoted saying.

Related report: Jan 10, Dr M Barred from Visiting Anwar