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29 NOV 2000




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Back to prison: Doctors have final say on Anwar
Zakiah Koya

4:53pm, Mon: The Prisons Department today said that they have no say on when jailed former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim will be transferred back to prison.

Prisons Department Public Relations Officer Jamil Razif told malaysiakini that it is the prerogative of the medical officers treating Anwar, and not the prison department’s, to make such a decision.

Jamil was commenting on reports that Anwar will soon be transferred back to the prison from Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, where he is currently admitted.

Anwar, who is serving a 15-year jail term for corruption and sodomy, was admitted to the hospital on Nov 24 after doctors confirmed that he was suffering from a "prolapse of the disc with severe compression of the nerve root" (slipped disc).

“Under the Prison Act, section 37 and section 38, the Prisons Department only has the right to place the prisoner in the hospital and look after the security measures. The prisoner will be returned to the prison if he or she is discharged by the medical officers who are in charge,” said Jamil.

Jamil said Anwar will be sent back to the Sungai Buloh prison if the doctors treating him think he is fit enough.

No request for surgery overseas

Meanwhile, Anwar’s wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail denied that Anwar had requested for overseas surgery.

“What we actually requested was a specific type of surgery which is called endoscopic micro spinal, which is a technique with less risks,” said Wan Azizah.

However, she refused to comment when asked whether this meant that the surgery would be done overseas since the technique is only available outside the country.

“Anwar is currently under medication and undergoing physiotherapy to relieve his pain but we have yet to rule out surgery completely. Based on the assessment of doctors, he still needs surgery,” said Wan Azizah.

A panel of specialists which include Tawakal Hospital neurosurgeon Dr Halili Rahmat, Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital neurosurgeon Dr Ciaran Bolger and Texas’ St May’s Hospital (Texas) neurosurgeon Dr Beck, had stressed that the stated surgical method was most recommended as it did not require open surgery, thus minimising risks when compared to conventional surgical methods.

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