Laman Orang Kampong

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

Anwar waves from the courthouse as his family behind him watches

The Attorney-General framed the charges to have occurred between a span of a few months and changed the dates twice by a matter of years, the last change because the apartment where the alleged incident happened did not existin the year mentioned. By refusing to name specific dates, Anwar was effectively denied a defense by alibi and in a normal court of law such vague charges would have been thrown out.

The trial is still in progress with Ariffin Jaka as the presiding judge. There is scant hope that this trial will be any more independent. The AG applied to admit Sukma's affidavit as evidence and this was accepted by the judge riding roughshod over Sukma's testimony in court that it was false and extracted under torture. No decent court would have accepted a confession made under conditions of extreme duress and repudiated by the person who is now free but Mahathir's court is no decent court. To his credit, Judge Ariffin Jaka ran a more creditable court than Augustine Paul. While Paul was a thoroughly cowed judge who bulldozed the case through and strove to protect his political masters from embarrassing exposure in his court, Ariffin allowed testimonies of conspiracy to surface and did not black out portions of the trial from the media as Paul had done. But in the end the inevitable will happen. 

Anwar will be convicted by a puppet judge who has no leeway to judge him on the merits of the case and he will be found guilty on the unproven testimony of one person who had powerful political backers behind his accusations.

In November 1999 the 10th General Elections was held and the trial was suspended to deny Anwar a platform to expose the corruption of the regime. This put paid to such nonsense as judicial independence which Mahathir is found of claiming. Keadilan performed strongly for such a young party with mainly political greenhorns winning 5 parliamentary seats and losing many more by slim majorities. Wan Azizah won the parliamentary seat of Permatang Pauh formerly held by her husband. Its partner in the elections,  PAS made even stronger gains in spite of election dirty tricks and the total control of the mass media by the ruling coalition, tripling their parliamentary seats and capturing another state. The election resultsclearly showed a deep split in the Malay vote and a swing away from Mahathir's UMNO party by disillusioned Malays who previously had never thought of voting for any other party. With the heavy price that UMNO had to pay over the Anwar issue, would Mahathir have the sense to ease off on the widely disbelieved sodomy charges and allow Malay unity to heal? This is unlikely considering Mahathir's super-ego. He would pursue his personal vendetta to the end no matter what he drag his party and the country through.

The 10th General Elections show a deep split in the Malay voters

By far the most regrettable effect of the Anwar saga was the heavy hammer blows on society's values and morality. Falsehood had replaced truth and truth had been buried under an avalanche of lies and official deceit. What happened to innocent men like Munawar, Sukma, Mior and Datuk Nalla whose lives were turned upside down did not matter to the powers that be for they were helpless pawns to be used and discarded in the political struggle. An administration that was entrusted to uphold justice, law and order had failed the people. Lies and injustice had to be enlarged to cover previous lies and wicked deeds. After Sukma testified in court that he was tortured to confess, the Attorney-General slapped charges of perjury on him. A national leader held in high esteem for his upright and religious nature was vilified, humiliated and convicted in the press based on unproven and unsubstantiated allegations even before he was charged in court. Sodomy is a particularly distasteful crime in Islam. Grievous hurt had been inflicted on the concepts of good and truth and lying villains like Azizan and Ummi have become twisted heroes. Children and young ones who question have to be lied to to maintain a farce of morality. The party PAS known for its Islamic fundamentalist ideals became winners in the turmoil with its membership swelling. When people are confronted by moral and justice outrages that they are helpless to correct, they turn to religion.

Of course the Anwar Ibrahim saga would not have been possible without the prior corruption of the democratic institutions and key players who steadfastly stood by Mahathir to carry out his evil bidding. The independence of the judiciary had been eroded from way back in 1988 with the sacking of the Lord President (now called Chief Justice), Tun Salleh Abas on trumped up charges and replaced with a compliant Mahathir man.

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