Anwar Ibrahim

Posted by Tanpa Nama | Posted on 7:39 PG

Anwar Ibrahim

Appeal Against Anwar’s Acquittal Politically Motivated & Legally Unsound

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 02:17 AM PST

I refer to the statement by the Attorney-General’s chambers claiming that the decision to apppeal against Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal is based on evidence and the law and will enable them to obtain the grounds of judgement and apppreciate the judge’s reasoning. In fact, the appeal is politically motivated, legally unsound and influenced by the ruling BN party. If the AG’s chambers had really proceeded solely on the evidence and the law, there would have been no appeal filed against the acquittal. The only kind of law the appeal could possibly be based upon is the law of the jungle.The appeal is a major embarassment to the regional and international reputation of our country. Once again UMNO has made our justice system the object of global mock and ridicule.

The A-G’s chambers has been a willing tool in the hands of UMNO in its vicious, immoral and relentless persecution of Anwar Ibrahim. Since 1998, the A-G’s chambers has been a key player in UMNO’s attempts to imprison Anwar and terminate his political career. The current Attorney- General Abdul Gani Patail who made the decision to file this appeal, featured prominently in the first sodomy trial which ended in Anwar’s 6 years imprisonment for a crime he did not commit.

The A-G’s chambers’ excuse that they needed to file the appeal in order to ‘appreciate the grounds considered by the learned judge in arriving at that decision’ is simply absurd and untenable. The chambers must weigh the necessity of appeal based on the totality of the evidence presented at the trial and the flaws and shortcomings of the prosecution case. As clearly demonstrated by his counsel at trial, the case against Anwar is so full of holes that there is no necessity to even look at the judge’s grounds of judgement.

The filing of this appeal is an outrageous example of the unscrupulous abuse of State powers which has become the trademark of the Barisan Nasional coalition over the past 54 years of its corrupt and authoritarian rule. This appeal is further evidence that Najib’s promises of change and reform were nothing more than a massive and hypocritical fraud upon the people of this nation. The motive for the appeal is to jail Anwar and hinder Pakatan Rakyat from winning Federal power in the coming general election. Come what may, Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat will never falter or fail in the ongoing battle for change and reform, and for a fair and just Malaysia.

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Embattled Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim Bent on Malaysian Reform

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 10:54 PM PST

From Saturday’s Globe and Mail


Anwar Ibrahim was supposed to be in jail right now. The leader of Malaysia's opposition would be convicted of having sex with a male aide, everyone here expected, and jailed long enough to ensure he posed no threat in the country's coming elections.

But after his surprise acquittal earlier this month, Mr. Anwar suddenly has a very different residence in mind. "The next time we meet," he says conspiratorially as we sit in his party's headquarters on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur for his first interview with a Western newspaper since the verdict, "it will be in a different office."

A smile spreads above his greying goatee as he points up and beyond me. He means Putrajaya, the suburb of Kuala Lumpur that's home to the office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Southeast Asia begins 2012 as a region in upheaval. Myanmar's generals have begun unexpectedly tearing down their authoritarian system, and neighbouring Thailand's coup-prone army stood aside last year and let the opposition it had previously confronted in the streets take power via the ballot box.

Mr. Anwar is convinced that Malaysia, a nominally democratic nation that has been dominated by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) since the country gained independence from Britain in 1957, will be the next to see sweeping change.

"There's definitely a Southeast Asian Spring taking place. No question about it. … We are between the ancien régime and the rebellion of the masses," says the man sometimes portrayed as the Nelson Mandela of this Muslim majority state. Mr. Anwar says the opposition would win a fairly held vote – and he warns that Malaysia could see scenes like those in Cairo's Tahrir Square if it is somehow prevented from taking power.

Tens of thousands of Malaysians have already shown their willingness to demonstrate, marching through the streets of Kuala Lumpur last July to call for reforms to the country's electoral system, which is seen as having been gerrymandered in the ruling party's favour

"We want free and fair elections," Mr. Anwar says. And if not? "Then we will fight. The people will not take it. No civilized country would accept the rape of the nation."

Having managed to maintain and build support through 14 years of sodomy charges and other smears – no small feat in a conservative country that bleeps out words like "bang" from reruns of How I Met Your Mother – there's suddenly a sense in Malaysia that Mr. Anwar might just end up in Putrajaya before the year is out.

Another jail term would likely have brought an end to the political career of the 64-year-old, who was deputy prime minister and UMNO's heir apparent until he fell out with the autocratic Mahathir Mohammed in 1998 over the handling of that year's Asian financial crisis. The relationship between the two men, long described as being similar to father and son, quickly dissolved into acrimony, mud-slinging and violence.

Mr. Mahathir called for police to investigate allegations that Mr. Anwar was corrupt and gay. Mr. Anwar was duly arrested, beaten by police and sentenced to 14 years in prison, although that sodomy conviction was overturned in 2004. (Sodomy is illegal in Malaysia, though the colonial-era statute seems to be used almost exclusively against Mr. Anwar, a married father of six. Charges against Mr. Anwar – who has denied that he's gay – and his associates account for four of seven recent uses of the law.)

The latest sodomy charges initially seemed to follow the old script, forcing Mr. Anwar to spend more time defending his reputation than building opposition to the government. The repeated allegations are scoffed at by many in cosmopolitan Kuala Lumpur but likely have damaged Mr. Anwar's popularity in more conservative rural areas. In a sign of how dimly gay rights are viewed in Malaysia, Mr. Anwar came under fire this week by the government-controlled press after he called the sodomy law "archaic." He was forced to repeat a previous statement that he does "not promote homosexuality in public sphere and domain."

Since his acquittal, friends and allies say Mr. Anwar – always a workaholic – is more seized than ever with his Mandela-inspired vision of opening his country's political system and ending the institutionalized political bias toward ethnic Malays (who are favoured for civil service and military posts ahead of the country's Chinese and Indian minorities). He crams in as many meetings and campaign rallies as the day can fit, to the point where Some wonder whether his wiry frame, already besieged by arthritis and back pains caused by a 1998 police beating that was followed by six years in jail, is up to the task.

"I can say for a fact – because I've seen his medical records – that he suffers from facet joint arthritis, and [his] left sciatic nerve is damaged. He's limited in his movements. The whole thing was exacerbated by the beatings, but it's age as well," said Sankara Nair, a lawyer who represented Mr. Anwar in the 1998 and 2011 trials known here as Sodomy I and Sodomy II.

But Mr. Nair says his friend and client will only be slowed, not stopped, by his ailments. "I think Anwar is being looked upon as the saviour of the opposition, the salvation of the country. Is he up to it? Yes he is. … He's even prepared for further allegations, but it's full speed ahead to the elections. There's no stopping this man."

The personal attacks – and the allegations of marital infidelity and homosexuality – have also taken their toll, especially on Mr. Anwar's family. "It hasn't been easy. It's been a long journey, personally," said his 31-year-old daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar.

But 14 years of watching her father battle persecution also transformed Ms. Nurul Izzah from a self-described "rather apathetic teenager" into a firebrand opposition MP, one who inherited her father's flashing brown eyes and natural political skills. "This whole journey convinced me that this fight is not about Anwar," she says. "It's an attempt to move Malaysia forward." (One of the main criticisms of Mr. Anwar is that he has turned his People's Justice Party into something of a family dynasty, with his wife Wan Azizah serving as interim leader while he was in jail and his daughter now emerging as heir apparent.)

Mr. Anwar heads an improbable coalition of Islamists, liberals and ethnic parties, an alliance that has already proven itself a threat to UMNO's dominance, having won control of five of the country's 13 state parliaments. It's a coalition very much held together by his own chameleon-like character – the Islamists trust him because of his background as a leader of a Muslim student group, the liberals and middle class because of his successful tenure as the country's finance minister, while ethnic groups look to his mixed Indian-Malay background and his long record as a defender of human rights.

Whether Malaysia really is changing as fast as the opposition believes arguably depends on why Mr. Anwar was acquitted on Jan. 9. Some believe Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah – who throughout the trial had seemed openly biased toward the prosecution – was making a stand for judicial independence when he curtly delivered his not-guilty verdict. Others believe Judge Diah simply received new orders from the top as the lurid trial became an international embarrassment to the Malaysian government. The former version got a boost Friday when the prosecution announced it would appeal the not-guilty verdict, once more putting Mr. Anwar's political future in a court's hands.

Behind that question of Judge Diah's intentions is a wider debate about how serious Prime Minister Najib Razak is when he says he intends to transform Malaysia – a country that has lagged behind neighbouring Indonesia in embracing political change – into what he calls a "mature, progressive democracy." The government has in recent months announced a series of major changes, trying to seize the mantle of reform as its own.

Last fall, Mr. Najib announced he would repeal the country's hated Internal Security Act – a colonial-era law that allowed for "preventative detention" – and loosen restrictions on the country's media, which is currently under tight government supervision. "I think that when Anwar tries to present himself as a reformer, he will find that ground is already occupied by the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak," the government's Information Minister, Rais Yatim, said in an interview.

But government critics see only rhetoric so far. Mr. Najib plans to replace the ISA, which is currently still in place, with another act that will still allow preventative detention, albeit with more judicial oversight. The new law will also ban protest marches, a move seemingly targeted at giving police the power to crack down on any election-related protests. Few other promised reforms have materialized yet: with an election perhaps just months away, pro-government newspapers are still the only ones with permission to print, and promises to review election laws that currently favour the ruling party have gone unfilled.

Mr. Anwar scoffs at the idea that Mr. Najib and UMNO are capable of substantive reform. "This government is not changing. It is the people who are going to change Malaysia."

Anwar’s Sodomy Acquittal a Pyrrhic Victory

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 10:15 PM PST

By Terence Netto

Those who claimed that Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal by the High Court last week on a charge of sodomy was a game-changing move must have felt, after the Attorney-General’s Chambers filed a notice of appeal yesterday, rather like North Korea’s nuclear disarmament interlocutors in recent years.

Just when we discern some sign of softening on the part of the communist world’s first dynastic regime, a South Korean frigate is sunk off the coast of the Korean peninsula, or Pyongyang test fires a missile, or commits some such travesty.

Then, what vestigial hopes the North had managed to keep alive in its adversaries are recognised as chimerical before the rogue regime begins another cycle of 'now you see my softer side, now you don’t.’

It’s a case of the inveterately bad only getting worse while fiendishly engaged in a dance of deception to take advantage of the gullible.

What are we to think?

Those wanting regime-change

Perhaps what the English poet WB Shelley said (“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world”) that makes one of our own, A Samad Said, a seer in our times with the prophecy of his discourse in his most recent offering, 'Merindu Ruang’ (A Yen to be Unbound):

Ada sang perubah permainan
kami perubah kekuasaan
Inilah tekad generasi baru
akarnya keadilan syahdu

(Facing purveyors of game-change
Are those wanting regime-change
This is the power of newly emerging forces
Rooted in the sublimity of noble justice)

All good poetry works like this: it teaches humankind their actual desires, the desires that must be accommodated in a truly enduring and beneficent order.

But what of the right of the prosecution in the sodomy and sedition cases to their desires for vindication?

Sure, it is the right of the prosecution, in both the Anwar sodomy and in the Karpal Singh sedition cases, to appeal.

But the sodomy case had so many holes it would have made the one the reefs bore in the hull of the cruise liner Costa Concordia off the Italian coast the other day look meager by comparison.

As for Karpal’s (right) supposedly seditious fulminations in the wake of the changeover in the Perak state government in February 2009, if these were as licentious as what issued from him in some internal DAP disputes of fairly recent vintage, then it’s plausible he would be liable.

But Karpal the solicitor is known to be more judicious than Karpal the political jouster.

Business as usual

So just when elements of the punditocracy were beginning to hold forth on the advent of a more liberal order under Prime Minister Najib Razak, there occur two appeals in the judicial process that imply that business, in our justice system, is reverting to status quo ante.

No doubt this will renew attention to the so-called battle in Umno between the hardliners and liberals, with the former viewed as having, in the wake of the appeals in the sodomy and sedition cases, gained the upper hand.

But these nuances aren’t worth the trouble it takes to be discerning about them.

It’s like the argument over whether the captain of the Costa Concordia abandoned his ship before all passengers had the left the stricken liner.

It’s a diversion from a graver issue: what was the vessel doing so close to where it was perilous to go?

When the system is a sclerotic as the one Umno-BN has contrived for this country, the bard Samad Said’s (left) intimation that you need regime change is not a radical prescription.

Anwar’s second trial for sodomy is not the personal problem that the erstwhile Hasan Ali, formerly of PAS, and at times, even Najib, have airily held the matter to be: it is paradigmatic of plenty that is wrong with a regime that has been in power for far too long and displays the unmistakable symptoms of its entrenched and repetitive abuses.

Its bad ways are beyond reform and a leader seeking to change the game is like someone in quest of an oasis in a parched land.

TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for close on four decades. He likes the occupation because it puts him in contact with the eminent without being under the necessity to admire them. It is the ideal occupation for a temperament that finds power fascinating and its exercise abhorrent.

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