Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Anwar and Philippine-Malaysia Relations

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Anwar and Philippine-Malaysia Relations

Article excerpt

Nowhere was Estrada's populism more internationally controversial than in his expression of support for his "friend" Anwar Ibrahim, the jailed former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, accused of sodomy and corruption. He reiterated his support for Anwar during a keynote address to the World Economic Forum in October and called on countries to address not only economic but also "democratic deficits". Afterwards, he received in Manila in a "private capacity" the daughter of Anwar, and reportedly urged her to advise her father "not to give up." Although Indonesian President B.J. Habibie shared such sentiments, Estrada's vocal support sparked a row with Malaysia. The Philippine Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur was summoned to explain Estrada's actions, and a meeting on border security issues was postponed.

Foreign Secretary Siazon and former President Ramos worked to tame Estrada's pronouncements on Anwar. They succeeded up to a point, managing to extract from the President a decision not to meet with Anwar's wife during Estrada's visit to Kuala Lumpur for the APEC Summit. Siazon, however, was outmanoeuvred. …

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