PETALING JAYA: The prisons department has questioned the authenticity of news reports on Monday quoting Anwar Ibrahim as predicting a spike in the type of violence that occurred at the Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum in the run-up to the 14th general election.
The department said the statement attributed to Anwar, the de facto Pakatan Harapan (PH) leader, was fake.
Berita Harian today quoted the department’s deputy director (policy), Supri Hashim, as saying Anwar never issued the statement on Aug 14 when he was escorted by prison warders for an appearance at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
“Anwar was guarded by officers and men of the department throughout his appearance at the courthouse,” Supri told the Malay language daily.
The brief statement, purportedly from Anwar, referred to the violent disturbance at the forum, held last Sunday by the youth wing of PH component PPBM, while PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad was addressing the audience on stage.
Anwar said similar acts of violence were committed against the opposition during the last general election, including vandalising a bus he used during campaigning.
“We urge the government to take stern action against the culprits,” he said in his statement.
Supri, however, said the media was kept away from Anwar the entire time he was at the courthouse that day.
“The picture used to illustrate reports on his statement was also not taken of Anwar at the courthouse on Monday,” he said.
He added that convicts were barred from issuing any statement without the approval of the prisons department.
Anwar has been serving a five-year sentence since February 2015 for sodomy.