Inaccurate to compare Sanusi’s arrest to Anwar’s in 1998, says Fahmi


Fahmi speaks to reporters after attending national Maal Hijrah celebrations at the World Trade Centre on July 19, 2023. ― Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR (July 19): Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil today rebuffed observers who compared yesterday’s 3am arrest of caretaker Kedah menteri besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor to that of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in 1998.

Fahmi, who is also PKR communications director, said it was not accurate to liken the PAS man’s arrest to what Anwar went through 25 years ago.

Instead, Fahmi said the more accurate comparison for Sanusi’s experience would be the 2021 arrest of a 61-year-old man in Negeri Sembilan who was alleged to have mocked the Kedah menteri besar in a Facebook video.

“This is the narrative that is trying to be played, but the reality is, in 2021, there is an uncle in his late 60s who was arrested at 3am because he was accused of insulting Sanusi,” he told reporters after attending national Maal Hijrah celebrations at the World Trade Centre here.

“I think that’s a more accurate comparison. No matter what, let’s learn from what happened, don’t ever insult the royal institution, don’t try to play the people and the King. This is a limit we can’t cross,” he added.

In 2021, an unnamed 61-year-old man was reported by several media outlets including national news agency Bernama to have been arrested in Lenggeng, Negri Sembilan before dawn for a widely spread Facebook video that mocked Sanusi’s comment on freezer containers.

The 61-year-old was taken to Sungai Petani in Kedah for investigations after Sanusi’s special officer Azizan Hamzah filed a police report.

Anwar was arrested at his home in Damansara Heights on Sept 20, 1998 when he was deputy prime minister.

According to media reports back then, Anwar was arrested in the evening by several police personnel armed with assault rifles and tear gas after tens of thousands of protesters demanded the resignation of then prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad (as he was known then).

Several lawmakers, including government backbenchers, and human rights groups have criticised Sanusi’s 3am arrest at a hotel in Mont Kiara yesterday ahead of his charging with two counts of sedition at the Sessions Court.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain justified the 3am arrest yesterday, saying Sanusi’s aides did not respond to police calls about the court appearance and that there was a worry the PAS leader may abscond from his court hearing. — Malay Mail