PETALING JAYA: Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has rubbished claims that he was given VIP treatment in prison and cautioned critics against comparing his incarceration with that of former prime minister Najib Razak.
He said Najib’s supporters had claimed that Najib was entitled to be transferred to the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital (HRC) because Anwar was given the same treatment while serving his sentence.
Anwar said he was only sent to a rehabilitation centre after serving more than 10 years in solitary confinement and that too on the advice of medical specialists after he had a major shoulder surgery.
“So, don’t ever compare (Najib’s experience) to Anwar’s experience. If he wants to be treated the same way, then he must serve 10 years first, then be brought to the rehabilitation centre,” he said at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) in Bangkok.
Anwar also said when he was jailed, he had to sleep on the cement floor for weeks before doctors advised that he should be given a bed due to his back condition.
The PKR president, however, said if the doctors could explain Najib’s condition and that he was truly unwell, then he would not make an issue out of Najib’s transfer to the rehabilitation hospital.
In April 1999, Anwar was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of corruption while in August 2000, he was handed a nine-year jail term for sodomy.
In 2004, he was released after his conviction was overturned. However, he was jailed again in 2014 for sodomy before receiving a royal pardon. He was released in 2018 following PH’s success in the 14th general election (GE14).
Yesterday, the prisons department said Najib had been transferred to HRC on Sept 19 for treatment and observation.
It said Najib was transferred to HRC after being referred by the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL), and that he would be sent back to Kajang prison to continue serving his sentence after getting clearance from the specialists at HRC or HKL.
Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin has denied allegations circulating on social media that Najib was being given special treatment.