Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is Anwar riding on Olympic fever?

New banners have Olympic-themed slogan and interlocking rings
August 14, 2008

HOPING to win the vote of the Chinese business community in Penang, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim seems to have modelled his campaign on the Beijing Olympics.

Red banners with his face on them feature a slogan in Mandarin that says: 'One country, one hope, let Anwar enter congress,' reported Guang Ming Daily.

His Pakatan Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) party seems to have got its inspiration from the Olympic tagline of 'One World, one dream'.

The poster also has five linked rings - which look much like the five rings of the Olympics.

The 50 banners will be hung up on Saturday in areas with high concentrations of Chinese residents.

They are targeted at winning over Chinese voters, who are most likely to identify strongly with the games held in Beijing.

However, it is unclear if the move would be an infringement of intellectual copyright.

The trademark rings may be deleted in the final version of the posters to prevent possible copyright disputes, said the report.

While Mr Anwar woos the Chinese community back home, support for his cause has also come from international figures such as former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, also known as Gus Dur.

Click to see larger image

He heads the country's largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, and flew to Kuala Lumpur last Sunday to support to Mr Anwar on his 61stbirthday, reported Malaysiakini.

Mr Abdurrahman announced his candidacy for the second time for next year's presidential contest.

Though both men have known each other for 15 years, it was only between 1999 and 2001 - when MrAbdurrahman was president - that they strengthened their ties.


Said Mr Abdurrahman, 68: 'I didn't believe those charges when they were levelled against him the first time.'

He had asked then-Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed no fewer than three times, in person and in letters, for Mr Anwar's release from jail on humanitarian grounds.

Mr Anwar was jailed for six years from 1998 for corruption and sodomy, but was exonerated in 2004 on the sodomy charge.

The Malaysiakini report said Mr Anwar had hurried off on Sunday after campaigning in Permatang Pauh to host the elder statesman to a small celebration.

A week ago, Mr Abdurrahman signed a letter with retired US Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor affirming Mr Anwar's role in Malaysia's democratic movement.

He said: 'I had no hesitation in signing the letter for I believe in (Mr)Anwar's innocence and importance to the needs of current history.'