KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Wearing their alma mater's burgundy striped tie, a dozen former students of Anwar Ibrahim's school gathered outside the capital's High Court on Wednesday in a show of support for the sacked finance minister.
The former schoolmates said they hardly recognised the portrait of Anwar as painted by the prosecution in his sex and corruption trial which has exposed a wide divide in Malaysian politics.
``He was the one who used to catch me for sneaking out. He was very conscious about discipline,'' said Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin, a 48-year-old consultant.
Raja Petra was three years behind Anwar at Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) where Anwar was known as an uncompromising school prefect.
``After knowing him for 35 years as a no-nonsense guy, today you say he's the opposite. I find that hard to believe,'' Raja Petra said.
Anwar received his high school education at the exclusive residential school in northern Perak state in the early 1960s.
Wearing white shirts and the school tie with yellow, black and white stripes, the MCKK graduates waited in line at the gates of the High Court hoping to gain entrance to the small courtroom where Anwar has been on trial since November 2.
``We are here because we would like to show our support,'' said a 37-year-old management consultant who refused to be named.
``We hope to see him and hope that he can see us. That may give him a moral boost to know that we have not deserted him,'' said Raja Petra. ``We want to show that we are proud of him. We are not ashamed.''
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sacked Anwar as deputy prime minister and finance minister on September 2, calling his former heir-apparent morally unfit.
Anwar has pleaded not guilty to five counts each of sodomy and corruption.
``What is the guy? A womanizer, a homosexual, a foreign agent?'' asked the consultant. ``Will the authorities please make up their mind?''
The former MCKK students, ranging in age from their 20s to 40s, said they were not part of any anti-government movement but only wanted to see Anwar receive a fair trial.
``The trial has been open enough to the extent that at times there are too many gory details,'' Raja Petra said.
``We have faith in the courts but whether he is found guilty or innocent based on facts, not circumstantial evidence, is yet to be seen.''
Only about a handful of the former MCKK students
were allowed into the trial on a day which saw few police personnel and
even fewer onlookers outside the courthouse.