Laman Orang Kampong

Fall of a Malaysian Hero
The Anwar Ibrahim saga will forever be a blot on the nation's history

Confronting the riot squad

All the institutions of democracy had been abused and degraded to drag down one man including the Police Force, the Attorney-General's Office, the Chief Justice of Malaysia, the Judiciary and most of all, the mass media. Through all this sordid rape of democracy, only the opposition's voice could be heard crying plaintively against the wind while Ministers and senior politicians in the ruling party kept silent or joined in the attack. If only one leader had broken rank and resigned, if only one of them had spoken out against the inhuman treatment of Anwar Ibrahim and the flawed trial, we might have known there is a little decency left in the political rulers. But it was clear that Mahathir had achieved a uniform level of subservience and sycophancy among his underlings who were all too eager to cling onto their positions of wealth and power to raise a voice.

From the pain and the turmoil of a divided country, a new political party was born.

 It was called Keadilan or National Justice Party headed by the wife of Anwar Ibrahim, Wan Azizah. The party symbol was a symbolic eye to denote the eyes of justice as well as the black eye suffered by Anwar. Malays sick of the ruling party's corruption and social injustice gravitated to it in droves. It wasestimated that 300,000 UMNO members left the party over the Anwar issue to join Keadilan and PAS,  another opposition party based on Islamic idealogy. Wan Azizah whose quiet grace and fortitude in the eye of the storm was widely admired became a symbol of the reformasi.

Wan Azizah

Mahathir had Anwar jailed for 15 years. Under Malaysian law he would also be disqualified from standing for public office for another 5 years. This effectively put Anwar out of the political picture for the rest of Mahathir rule's and perhaps even his life span. The political turmoil had split the Malays and scarred the nation psychologically over the abuse of democratic institutions. Mahathir would also be facing an election soon. If ever there was a time to let the dust settle and allow the nation to heal it was now. But Mahathir had a vindictive streak in him and a huge ego bigger than that of all the previous Prime Ministers put together. He had publicly declared Anwar guilty of sodomy which is a crime under Malaysian law and so Anwar had to be convicted of sodomy as well. After all he had sacked Anwar from both government and party on moral grounds, not on the paltry issues of non-monetary technical corruption that the Attorney-General had dredged up. If indeed Anwar had only been guilty of those, he would still be the cleanest man in the cabinet.

So soon after his conviction in April 1998, Anwar was again dragged to court to answer charges of sodomy. The case was yet another epitome in flimsy charges lacking any real substance. The sole accuser was the slimy chap Azizan Abu Bakar who had been Wan Azizah's driver and there were no witnesses to corroborate his claims. He had been a thoroughly unreliable witness during Anwar's corruption trial, sometimes contradicting and even refuting his own evidence. He mysteriously became a company director after making public his accusations and had kept quiet for 5 years during which time he also continued to visit Anwar's family after leaving their service. He claimed to have been sodomized 15 times, but could not remember any dates and had never been examined by a doctor. 



Next Page

Page 5 of 7