PETALING JAYA: The White House on Friday issued an official response to a petition calling for the release of jailed Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, after it amassed a total of 113,806 signatures.
"The United States is deeply disappointed with Mr Anwar's conviction following a government appeal of the original verdict finding him not guilty," it said in the statement.
The White House said they had made this clear both through statements and in their interactions with the Malaysian Government, and that they would continue to do so.
It noted a number of serious concerns about the rule of law and the fairness of Malaysia's judicial system, given the initial decision to prosecute Anwar, the decision to appeal the not guilty verdict, and the overturning of that verdict.
Given the strong "comprehensive partnership" between the US and Malaysia, the White House reiterated its commitment to expanding cooperation on shared economic and security challenges affecting the countries' interests in Asia and globally.
"At the same time, we have and will continue to urge the government to apply the rule of law fairly, transparently, and apolitically in order to promote confidence in Malaysia's democracy, judiciary, and economy," it said.
The White House added "History has shown that countries that uphold the human rights of all their citizens –regardless of their political affiliation, ethnicity, race, religion, or sexual orientation – are ultimately more prosperous and more stable".
The White House's "We the People" site allows Americans to ask the Obama administration to take action on a range of important issues facing the country.
It states that the White House would review a petition if it obtained enough support. The government would then send it to appropriate policy experts and issue an official response.