Monitor: Asian newspapers comment on the Malaysian unrest

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The Independent Culture
FLIERS URGING the public to gather at the Dataran Merdeka rally, organised by supporters of Anwar Ibrahim, began making their rounds in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. The timing of the rally could not have been worse, as Queen Elizabeth II was scheduled to attend Sunday service at an adjacent Anglican church. It could have been just coincidental or perhaps a move to embarrass the government. But this was a long night which the city folk would not want to see again. Trouble-makers are not reformists, no matter how they like to see themselves.

The Star, Malaysia

THE ARREST of sacked Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim was totally expected. The wonder is Mahathir Mohamad allowed matters to get so far. In the end it needed several hundred armed policemen to carry out the arrest. That such a show of force was necessary shows how much the prime minister has to fear from Mr Anwar's campaign to bring him down. Some 40,000 people attended a rally in Kuala Lumpur earlier in the day to demand Dr Mahathir step down. Much depends on whether there is anyone to carry the Anwar torch. His wife as another Corazon Aquino? We must pray that events play out peacefully.

Hong Kong Standard

MAHATHIR'S FORMER heir-apparent undeterred by the threat of arrest, begun calling for an end to Mahathir's 17-year reign. Until recently, Anwar was considered as Malaysia's prime minister-in-waiting and a model of Muslim devotion. His sacking from the cabinet marked a final rupture with Mahathir, but the thousands of supporters who attended his nightly rallies since then had kept alive the embers of Anwar's political ambitions.

Business Day, Thailand

THE ARREST of Anwar Ibrahim, the sacked deputy prime minister, was inevitable but it poses serious problems for the government. Developments forced its hand. It could no longer leave him free to stir up more public opposition to Mahathir. But arresting Anwar will not be the end of the matter. His wife, Dr Wan Azizah, is set to replace him as leader of the reform movement. Other supporters have also said they will carry on the struggle.

South China Morning Post