Najib pays surprise visit to Anwar in hospital

Prime Minister Najib Razak visiting Anwar Ibrahim in Hospital Kuala Lumpur yesterday, after the latter underwent surgery. With them are their wives, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Ms Rosmah Mansor.
Prime Minister Najib Razak visiting Anwar Ibrahim in Hospital Kuala Lumpur yesterday, after the latter underwent surgery. With them are their wives, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Ms Rosmah Mansor.PHOTO: TWITTER/ NAJIB RAZAK

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak visited jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in hospital yesterday, in a rare gesture of goodwill between the long-time political rivals ahead of a general election expected in months.

Anwar, 70, is recuperating from surgery to his shoulder last Sunday .

"I went to visit Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today... I hope he recovers quickly," tweeted Datuk Seri Najib, posting a photo of his visit, accompanied by his wife Rosmah Mansor. Anwar's wife, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was also present.

Anwar's son, Mr Muhamad Ihsan Anwar, expressed his gratitude to the government for the Prime Minister's courtesy call, but noted in his statement on behalf of the family that his father's shoulder injury was "worsened from imprisonment and the accident last month while under the custody of the authorities".

Anwar is serving a five-year prison sentence after being convicted of sodomy in 2014, charges he has maintained were politically motivated after he led the opposition alliance to widespread gains in the 2008 and 2013 general elections.

Anwar was first imprisoned for abuse of power in 1999, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was premier. Earlier this year, the two men cast aside their differences with the common aim of bringing down Mr Najib's administration, and formed opposition pact Pakatan Harapan.

Mr Najib's photo opportunity at Anwar's bedside yesterday would appear to downplay the significance of the new-found friendship between former foes Anwar and Dr Mahathir.

A SON'S REQUEST

I hope the manner this humanitarian issue has been managed so far will generate further goodwill on the part of the government of Malaysia to extend all the medical attention necessary to our father.

MR MUHAMAD IHSAN ANWAR, on Anwar Ibrahim, who is serving time in prison.

In his statement, Mr Muhamad Ihsan also requested that his father be allowed to recuperate in a medical facility outside of prison and given access to physiotherapy until he recovers fully.

"I hope the manner this humanitarian issue has been managed so far will generate further goodwill on the part of the government of Malaysia to extend all the medical attention necessary to our father," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on , with the headline 'Najib pays surprise visit to Anwar in hospital'. Print Edition | Subscribe