By Arfaâ€™eza A Aziz
Arrangements are being made for ex-deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was released by the Federal Court yesterday when it quashed his conviction and nine-year sentence for sodomy, to fly to Germany to treat his chronic back ailment.
Anwarâ€™s aide Azmin Ali said that the former deputy prime minister was at the immigration department at Plaza Damansara this morning to obtain his new passport. When he was a minister in government, Anwar had a diplomatic passport, which is no longer valid.
â€œWe can only confirm everything by this afternoon. But if everything goes well, he will be flying to Munich tonight,â€� said Azmin.
According to AFP, some 300 cheering supporters gathered at the passport office to greet Anwar.
Waving his new passport, which was produced within an hour, Anwar told them: "I'm happy now. I can leave for Germany for my back treatment."
Anwar's wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, said that for his first breakfast in freedom the former prisoner had enjoyed cereal and banana fritters. "He relished it," she said.
Anwarâ€™s eldest daughter, Nurul Izzah, said the family was concerned and disappointed that arrangements to have her father flown to Germany last night failed.
â€œOf course, we are happy to spend more time with him. But because of his poor health, we had hoped that he could be there (Munich) by today but somehow things just did not fall into place. We hope things will work out tonight,â€� she said when contacted.
She said that the family had also informed Dr Thomas Hoogland to expect Anwar at his Alpha Klinik in Munich during the weekend.
Nurul Izzah also said that not all her six siblings would be able to follow their mother Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who is accompanying Anwar to Germany.
â€œMy convocation is tomorrow and Papa has forced me to attend it,â€� said the 24-year-old, who will be obtaining her degree in electrical engineering from Universiti Tenaga Nasional.
â€œI also have to wait for (Nurul) Hana who will be doing her UPSR examinations next week. I guess we will go there next Thursday at the earliest.â€�
Their home at Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, has been abuzz with activity since yesterday as thousands of people came to catch a glimpse of Anwar, said Nurul Izzah.
â€œPeople came as late as 1am. We were scared that the visits would tire him out but he was so happy to see so much support. If they are those who could not meet Papa yesterday, we hope they understand our situation,â€� she said.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat Youth chief Ezam Mohamad Nor, told AFP that Anwar could be flying to Germany on a private jet offered by the Saudi Arabian government.
"He has been in a very jovial mood yesterday and today but he is in severe pain. We are worried about his health and we want to get him to Germany as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, Free Anwar Movement spokesperson Tian Chua told MalaysiaKini that there will be a convoy to escort Anwar to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport tonight.
Those who wish to participate in the convoy should gather outside Anwarâ€™s house at 6pm, he said.
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