By Muaz Omar, The Malaysian Insider
FEB 15 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is facing one of the most daunting periods of his political career.
If the court finds that the A-G Chambers is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt and convict Anwar, it will most probably spell the end of a tumultuous career of an enigmatic leader.
For the uninitiated, this “Sodomy Redux” of Anwar’s alleged indescretion bears a similar plot, from the main players right up to the actual charge itself.
The story goes of how Anwar, a 62-year-old father of six with a history of back problems who forced himself on his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan, a young and fit mid-20s university dropout.
The storyline is bizzare to say the least that would even make Hugh Hefner, founder of the biggest pornographic empire Playboy, smirk in disgust.
While we are being fed with juicy details of the supposedly homosexual tendencies of Anwar, it is nauseating to see how the media is bent on tarnishing and assasinate the character of the person representing the biggest threat to Umno and almost single handedly dented Umno’s 50-odd years of hegemony.
Umno pulled out from the book every single dirty trick that it knows to add to the sodomy charge in their desperate attempt to hold on to power by abusing the media, institutions and enforcement agencies in their attempt to hoodwink the people.
With both Anwar and the government jostling to win over the public — one claiming political motives on the charges and the other trying to display Anwar as a sodomist — the mainstream media is siding with the government and the new media tilting towards Anwar.
The irresponsibility of the mainstream media is marked by the glorifying of Saiful that only serve to galvanise public opinion against the claim that he was victimised by Anwar.
Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia, regarded as the mouthpiece of Umno, led the attack against Anwar and sensationally attempting to paint the picture of a monster with unnatural tendencies.
Just like in the previous sodomy charge on Anwar, the current scenario has the court of public opinion siding with Anwar and a strong perception of mala fide on the side of the government.
The prosecution’s attempt to “shock and awe” the defence and the people of Malaysia by putting its star witness as the first on the stand revealed its intention to close its case as soon as possible.
If the judge finds that there is a prima facie case for Anwar to answer, we can expect the defence to launch counter-attacks raising questions from political motives, credibility of witness, authenticity of semen or DNA stain found and key players involved prior to and after the alleged act, etc.
The balance of the case tilts on the question of whether penetration is a key element in the act of sodomy and the court’s decision on Feb 17 will determine the course of the trial.
On the other hand, the prosecution is bent on adducing forensic evidence that there is semen found in the anus of Saiful and that penetration is not key to an act of sodomy; which makes the case sound even more ridiculous than it already is.
If the court finds in the favour of the prosecution, we can expect a long and protracted case that will fill the front pages of the local media for quite some time.
After the massive public relations failure of the first sodomy charge on Anwar in 1998, the powers-that-be now prefer a quick resolution rather than a drawn-out case that will not kill of Anwar politically, but may turn the tide against them in the run-up to the next general election.
Malaysians cannot help but feel that the charge is preferred against Anwar due to political motives more than anything else due to the endless questions and doubts raised about the case including the conduct of the preceeding investigations.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Umno is the direct beneficiary by the persecution of Anwar, and Anwar himself has accused Najib of playing a role in this case.
With Anwar being kept busy in the corridors of Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Duta Court Complex, Umno on the other hand is roaming, plotting and scheming to disrupt and destroy Pakatan Rakyat.
Umno is fast establishing itself as a hardcore right-wing radical Malay party with its endless animosity against the Selangor and Penang state governments, accusing them of being un-Islamic and anti-Malay.
Beginning from the “Allah” row, where Umno took a very conservative position, it followed that up with attacking Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, the Selangor Mentri Besar, over the state’s decision to confiscate the land belonging to Yayasan Basmi Kemiskinan (YBK), painted as a pro-Malay institution for not paying up quit rent amounting to more than RM5 million.
Protests and demonstrations have also been loud in Penang with Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at the centre of the attack.
Utusan Malaysia, displaying pure unethical journalism, lied through its teeth when it reported that the Penang state government cancelled the state-level Maulidur Rasul (Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday) procession which was immediately denied by Lim.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi waded into the controversy by criticising the Penang government on an unsubstantiated report that had no basis whatsoever.
Not letting up on Anwar & Co, Umno followed that through with concerted and subversive moves to accentuate discord among problematic leaders within Pakatan especially within Anwar’s own party PKR.
With Anwar distracted in the confines of the court, Umno instigated those mercenaries to quit PKR exemplified by the departure of Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim, the former PKR Penang chief, which is intended to further put Anwar on the backfoot.
Umno conjured the move to tarnish Anwar, backing that up with mindless polarising moves using the race and religion card to distance the Malays from Anwar.
While Umno is deep in its slumber in the caves of orthodoxy, Malaysians are getting more urbanised, embracing universal values of justice, openness and cosmopolitanism.
Malaysians who are used to be subservient to the government are now taking a pivotal role in the decision-making process of the nation.
While Anwar is being dragged by pro-Umno conspirators into the lairs of Sungai Buloh Prison, questions over the independence of the judiciary, impartiality of A-G Chambers and the abuse of institutions for the benefit of the ruling cliques hover in the minds of many Malaysians.
The incarceration of Anwar represents everything that is rotten in the country — sense of justice, equality and humanity — which is lost among those in Putrajaya making the decisions that affect the daily lives of ordinary Malaysians.
This is not the trial of Anwar and Anwar alone, every single Malaysian is on trial whether we demand for justice, whether we want equality and if we are humane enough and care for a fellow Malaysian as though he or she is a family member.
While Umno attempts to pull Malaysians apart using old-school dogmatic politics, we are left with no choice but to reject divisiveness and demand for reform.
The demand for justice for the slained Teoh Beng Hock and S. Kugan must be accorded to Anwar as he is a respectable human being and, more importantly, he is a fellow Malaysian.
Umno does not realise that it is digging its own grave and Malaysians will read it its final rites in the next general election.
Malaysians will resist Umno’s attempt to drag them into the doldrums of mediocrity and immorality.