Attorney-General had also sat on the report for months and tried to
ameliorate the seriousness of his injuries. The Chief of Police, Tan Sri
Rahim Noor resigned to "take responsibility" and the government
expected this to be the end of the matter. But the public outcry locally
and internationally would not abate and Mahathir was forced to appoint a
Royal Commission of Inquiry. The culprit was speedily identified as none
other than the Police Chief himself and the Commission stated that the
assault was so violent that it could have been fatal. Rahim Noor was
charged with causing grievous hurt, released without surety and his trial
postponed for a year. Nobody expects him to be given a heavy sentence and
he is likely to get away with a minor wrist slap.
With the barrage of accusations and character assassination against Anwar
and with his previous high office, what would the Attorney-General Mokhtar
Abdullah charge him with? Would it be corruption involving billions of
ringgit, high treason, murder or some other really serious offence?
But when the charges were released, Malaysians were surprised by their
paucity and poverty. Besides four vague charges of the moral crime of
sodomy which the Attorney-General had no confidence to try him yet, there
were four charges of "corruption". In a highly corruption
tolerant environment when well-connected individuals have stolen billions
and walked free, when a politician accused of statutory rape was let off
without being charged, when an established prima facie case of corruption
against a Minister was ignored, Anwar Ibrahim was dragged to court for
four counts of non-monetary technical corruption which challenged the
definition of an offense. Specifically he was charged with instructing the
police to clear his name from vile slanderers who had circulated poison
pen letters accusing him of sexual indiscretion and sodomy. The fact that
Anwar as DPM and Finance Minister had no statutory power to order the
police to do his bidding (the Police Dept. comes under the Home Minister
which was held by Mahathir then) and so could not have corruptly used his
non-existent power to order the police was not appreciated by the court.
And so the circus of a show trial began with the intense attention of the
world's media focussed on the unfolding drama.