Response to We the People Petition on Anwar Ibrahim

Thank you for your petition.

The United States is deeply disappointed with Mr. Anwar’s conviction following a government appeal of the original verdict finding him not guilty. We have made this clear both through statements and in our interactions with the Government of Malaysia, and we will continue to do so.

The initial decision to prosecute Mr. Anwar, the decision to appeal the not guilty verdict, and the overturning of that verdict raise a number of serious concerns about the rule of law and the fairness of the judicial system in Malaysia. These concerns are compounded by the government’s intent to expand its sedition law, which Prime Minister Najib had pledged to repeal, to prosecute critics of the government.

The United States and Malaysia have built a strong “comprehensive partnership,” and we remain committed to expanding our cooperation on shared economic and security challenges affecting our countries’ interests in Asia and globally. At the same time, we have and will continue to urge the government to apply the rule of law fairly, transparently, and apolitically in order to promote confidence in Malaysia’s democracy, judiciary, and economy. History has shown that countries that uphold the human rights of all their citizens — regardless of their political affiliation, ethnicity, race, religion, or sexual orientation — are ultimately more prosperous and more stable.

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