‘Free Anwar’ petition yanked amid final push, reports MalaysiaKini

In surprising turn of events, former United States ambassador to Malaysia John Malott’s online petition has been removed from the White House website ‘We the People’ citing “a violation of their terms of participants.”

The petition, which was online an hour ago, saw a dramatic jump in signatures over the past 24 hours. MalaysiaKini’s Anjulie Ngan provides an account:

According to the website, “The user who submitted the petition will be notified and have the opportunity to request reconsideration of the determination.”

When contacted, Malott said that he did not receive any notifications from the White House regarding the removal of his petition.

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“Furthermore, I have read the White House Terms of Participation, and there is nothing in their terms that applies to this petition. So I do not understand what is going on,” he said.

Last minute surge

The ‘Free Anwar’ online petition added more than 30,000 signatures since yesterday.

As at 9.50am today, the petition urging United States President Barack Obama to make the release of Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim a top priority in American foreign policy, has garnered 95,852 signatures.

The petition which was launched on Feb 10 – the day Anwar was sent to prison for sodomy – requires a total of 100,000 signatures by March 12, a deadline which is only two days away.

“The future of democracy in Malaysia is at stake. Securing Anwar’s release from prison must be a top priority in US policy towards Malaysia, to be advanced in every way possible,” says the petition.

A second online petition countering Malott’s (left) and urging the Obama administration not to interfere in the Malaysian judiciary now stands at 72,811 signatures.

This counter-petition was neck and neck with Malott’s a day ago, even overtaking it by a few thousand signatures as the latter’s petition stagnated at 61,000.

Target within sight

However, due to a last-minute push for Malott’s petition, with Pakatan leaders urging the public to sign it, the goal of achieving 100,000 signatures is within sight.

In recent days, DAP has been aggressively campaigning through social media for supporters to spread the word on the petition.

Among others, DAP national advisor Lim Kit Siang, Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming and a number of other leaders have also mobilised party supporters both on Facebook and on Twitter to back the petition.

On PKR’s official Facebook page has yesterday, the party urged supporters who have yet to ink their signatures in Malott’s petition, to do so.

“Many have signed. Have you?” the Facebook post read.

At the last count, Malott’s petition needed only about 4,000 more signatures to hit the 100,000 target.