Anwar Ibrahim Nominated For 2016 Nobel Peace Prize?

Local NGOs think the jailed politician is highly deserving of this prestigious award.

Cover image via The Malaysian Insider

A group of 10 local NGOs are positive that incarcerated politician, Anwar Ibrahim should be nominated for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize this year

The local NGOs speaking about nominating Anwar Ibrahim for the Nobel Peace Prize this year, at a press conference held yesterday, 5 January

Image via Free Malaysia Today

Led by activists from the 1998 Reformasi movement, Otai Reformasi chair Saari Sungib told a press conference in Petaling Jaya today that they were informed of Anwar's nomination by an undisclosed party.

Their support, Saari said, was partly based on rights group Amnesty International's recognition of Anwar as a "prisoner of conscience" who must be freed.

"He's on that level. The best person who is willing to sacrifice his time, comfort, his freedom for the purpose of bringing about true realisation of the important things like true governance, no corruption as well as things that relate to democracy and freedom," said Saari.

Championing their support for Anwar, Otai Reformasi's head, Saari Sungib highlighted that the UK based human rights NGO and Nobel Prize winner, Amnesty International has dubbed Anwar as "prisoner of conscience" twice in the past

Otai Reformasi's head, Saari Sungib

Image via The Rakyat Post

Their support, Saari said, was partly based on rights group Amnesty International's recognition of Anwar as a "prisoner of conscience" who must be freed.

"He (Anwar) has been twice recognised as Amnesty International's prisoner of conscience and Amnesty has also twice been awarded the Nobel Prize," he added.

Started more than a century ago, in 1901, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded annually to exceptional individuals that have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses"

Former South African President, the late Nelson Mandela was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize award in 1993

Image via INC Wajana

The Nobel Prize award was created by prominent scientist and inventor of dynamite, Alfred Noble and as per his will and wishes, the recipients of this award can only be selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

As for the nominators for this prize, it has to come from qualified nominators that fulfill these criteria:

Nobel Peace Prize nominators' criteria

Image via Nobel Prize Organization

The selection process is a lengthy one; starting in January as the committee waits for the nominations and selections are finalised in October, while the awards will be presented in December.

Nobel Peace Prize selection process

Image via Nobel Prize Organization

The NGOs also took the opportunity during the press conference held yesterday, 5 January, to inform the public about the planned 'Free Anwar, Save the Nation' rally that is set to be held on 3 April at the Dataran Merdeka

Protesters at pro-Anwar rally after he was imprisoned last February under sodomy charges

Image via KL Coconuts

As part of their sustained campaign to free Anwar, who is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for sodomy, Saari announced that a rally themed 'Free Anwar, Save the Nation' will be held at Dataran Merdeka on April 3.

Saari said on April 2, a Reformasi convention will be held, with participants from Indonesia, Timor Leste, the Philippines and Tunisia, among other countries.

While speaking about Anwar, national laureate A Samad Said, commented that his sacrifices and contributions to the nation must be taken into count and honoured in a dignified manner

Datuk A Samad Said

Image via The Malaysian Insider

"He (Anwar) is a man of conscience, vision and action who is now languishing under lock and key.

"We do not want him to continue wasting in jail when he still has so much left to contribute," Samad (photo) said.

“We are not here to start a campaign, or to get signatures for Anwar to get the prize. That’s not how it works," stressed PKR's Batu MP Tian Chua

Batu MP Chua Tian Chang

Image via The Malaysian Insider

PKR’s Tian Chua who was also at the press conference, stated that the nomination of Anwar to the Nobel Committee was submitted by a group of internationals.

“We are here to state our support for a leader that deserves recognition beyond the borders of Malaysia,” he said and added that apart from awards and recognition, Anwar needed to be exonerated and released.

Former deputy prime minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been in the limelight since his controversial arrest for high-level corruption and sodomy charges in 1998.

His political comeback was seen in 2013 when he led the opposition coalition to win 89 parliamentary seats in the 13th General Elections.

Anwar won the parliamentary seat of the Permatang Pauh constituency and was its member of parliament from 28 August 2008 till 16 March 2015.

But in March 2014, his legal troubles ensued and he was slapped with a 5-year prison sentence that commenced on 10 February 2015.

International organisations, human rights committees, world leaders, including American President Barack Obama, expressed their disappointment over the matter, calling it an infringement on democracy.

The first Malaysian to have won the Nobel Peace Prize was Mohd Nasarudin Mohd Yusof.

He received it with his team at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) back in 2013.

Mohd Nasarudin Mohd Yusof

Image via The Star

All that Mohd Nasarudin Mohd Yusof wanted to do after moving to The Hague, Netherlands, and joining the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) three years ago, was to make Malaysia proud of his service there.

Never did the 52-year-old retired Malaysian Armed Forces personnel dream that he would get a chance to fly the Jalur Gemilang high with a Nobel Peace Prize 2013 award for his work at the intergovernmental organisation that ensures member countries adhere to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction.

“I did not win the Nobel prize for individual achievement. I received it with my organisation, for the whole team’s work,” said the chemical weapons and munition specialist.

The Nobel Peace Prize to the OPCW consisted of a medal, a diploma and a cash prize of about 900,000 euro (RM3.77mil).

Meanwhile, events of the past and the magnanimous support that Anwar gained over the years, prove that a huge number of Malaysians are avid supporters of him and democracy:

Just hours after his final verdict on the sodomy charge came in, leaders from across the world raised concerns on the state of Malaysia's democracy and human rights:

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