Anwar Ibrahim accuses Australia of being 'complicit' in corruption

Anwar Ibrahim accuses Australia of being 'complicit' in corruption
Anwar Ibrahim accuses Australia of being 'complicit' in corruption

Malaysia's former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has accused Australia of being "completely dishonest" about the country's scandal-plagued former prime minister Najib Razak.

Mr Anwar, who is now effectively Malaysia's prime minister in waiting, has also accused the Australian Government of being "complicit" in corruption.

After spending 10 years in prison, Anwar Ibrahim worked with an unlikely coalition of former enemies including the newly-elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to help bring down Malaysia's scandal-plagued government.

Mr Najib is facing allegations he looted the state-funded One-Malaysia Development Bank, with stolen funds used to buy everything from real estate to artworks.

Mr Anwar told RN Breakfast Australia's foreign policy has been perceived in Malaysia as tolerant of corruption and criminal act.

"All their statements have been extremely supportive of Najib's administration, regardless of whatever is being said," he said.

"To say that this is an example of the most moderate and viable democracy… I mean such statements are deemed to be silly and completely dishonest."

Mr Anwar also criticised Australia for holding a former bodyguard of Mr Najib in Sydney's Villawood detention centre.

Sirul Azgar Umar has been convicted in Malaysia of the suspected murder of a Mongolian translator linked to the former prime minister Najib Razak.

Mr Anwar said Australia should release the bodyguard, so he could return to Malaysia for a new trial.

"It's time Australia accept the fact that some of their foreign policy has been perceived by many Malaysians as complicit, or tolerant, of the crimes of corruption and also criminal actions," he said.

"The Malaysian authorities may then seek Australia's cooperation, just to make sure there is a fair trial — because you can't have a trial when a person is detained elsewhere."

The ideal situation, Mr Anwar said, would be if Australia returned him voluntarily.

"They are also talking about some other options in terms of government to government negotiations," he said.

"But of course Sirul must be protected — he's also worried about his own personal security."

'I want to move on'

Despite Mr Anwar's past, he said he wanted to "move on" and re-establish good relations with his friends overseas, including Australia.

"I will express my views frankly, I'm not in the government, I'm not particularly worried about diplomatic rules here," he said.

"But I think the essential point is that our relations has to be extremely cordial and the bilateral issues must be excellent with Australia."

Asked whether or not he felt let down by the Australian Government during his time in incarceration, Mr Anwar said though they "have not done anything… I'm ok, I'm now a free man.

"I want to move on, I still believe that the Malaysian Australian relations must be excellent."

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop issued a statement in which she said Australia was "looking forward to a close and productive relationship with the new Malaysian Government".

"Our positive and broad-based ties with the previous administration enabled us to collaborate on matters that were in both Australia and Malaysia's national interests," she said.

"We do not seek to impinge on the sovereignty of other countries, just as we expect other countries not to interfere in our political affairs.

"Questions about extradition are a matter for the Home Affairs and Attorney-General's Department."

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