24 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?

24 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?


As Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy appeal nears, Universiti Malaya’s (UM) student council urged students nationwide to join them in a new phase of reformasi, saying Malaysia has been under Barisan Nasional’s rule for too long.
Universiti Malaya Undergraduates Association (PMUM) leader Fahmi Zainol (pic, right) said the voice of the youths had in the past brought change to Malaysia, as well as in Indonesia and Hong Kong.

“I am sure Putrajaya has been controlled by the same power for too long, perhaps it is time Putrajaya needs new powers and energy (to control it),” said Fahmi in a statement.

“I am sure the students can make a change. Taking into account the spirit of solidarity in the case against Anwar on October 28 and 29, I am confident that October 27, 2014, will see the rise of the students.”

He urged students to begin the “reformasi” on the eve of Anwar’s appeal hearing on October 28 by attending a talk by the parliamentary opposition leader on the UM campus at 9pm.

The UM administration has already declared the programme, “40 years: from University of Malaya to prison” illegal.

“From UM, we will go to Putrajaya to bring about reformasi, which has become the dream of Malaysians. Come, from UM to Putrajaya,” said Fahmi.

Reformasi was the battle cry of street protesters who rallied for Anwar in 1998, following his sacking from the Cabinet.

Anwar’s sacking, his beating while in police custody and subsequent sodomy charges angered many and saw the birth Parti Keadilan Nasional, now known as PKR.

Sixteen years later, PKR Youth is now attempting to mobilise support for the opposition leader through their #RakyatHakimNegara campaign, while top leaders are in Australia to raise awareness about Anwar’s trial next week.

Fahmi said today that the students, as a generation brought up at the turn of the millennium, had seen how Malaysia suffered from a socio-economic crisis under BN’s rule.

He said the economy was in tatters due to rising deficit, while the sovereignty of the country’s laws were undermined enactment of laws depriving Malaysians of their human rights.

“The government still has no shame in using draconian laws such as the Sedition Act 1948, even though the rest of the world, including the United Nations (UN), condemns its use.

“Even the judiciary appears to be used for selective prosecution to fulfil the desires of the ruling parties,” he said, noting that Anwar as well as youth activists had fallen prey to it.

“What else is there for us to hope from the leaders who are currently ruling Putrajaya today?”

Malay daily Berita Harian reported today that Fahmi had been summoned for disciplinary action for allegedly tarnishing the university’s reputation, after he invited Anwar to speak in campus next Monday.

UM vice-chancellor of student affairs, Professor Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof, told the paper that UM would never allow or support such a programme as it was against the university rules.

“It will not only damage the image, but will also cause a negative view of the university,” she was quoted as saying, adding that Fahmi was at risk of suspension and could be fined RM200 if he continued with the programme.

She also warned other students of disciplinary action if they attended the event.

But Fahmi told The Malaysian Insider today that the programme would go on.

“PMUM will make sure that Anwar will enter UM and let our students and the management have a lesson on freedom of speech.”

He said they were not challenging the university management, but the unjust law and the system, adding that “in the process the people who are benefited from this unjust system might feel offended”.

“The students shall be treated as adults, given the freedom to organise events without being controlled by the university officials, as long as our events do not in conflict with the Malaysian laws passed by the Parliament.

“It is in conjunction with what other world-class universities have already done, and also how Universiti Malaya was in 1960s.”

Fahmi said yesterday that the event would mark Anwar’s journey from his days as a UM student to his current predicament.

The Federal Court is scheduled to hear Anwar’s appeal on his sodomy conviction on October 28 and 29.

On March 7, the Court of Appeal overturned his sodomy acquittal by the High Court two years earlier.

The appellate court found Anwar guilty of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan 26, at a unit at the Desa Damansara condominium in Bukit Damansara between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

Anwar was sentenced to five years’ jail but was granted a stay of execution, pending an appeal to the Federal Court.

24 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?


*For full video of the interview, click on the link

Sarawak Report has obtained a copy of Anwar Ibrahim’s prime time interview last week with Sky TV’s Adam Boulton.

The interview was broadcast on Sky News Tonight, the channel’s flagship evening news show at 8.30pm on Thursday 16th October, during the Malaysian opposition leader’s brief visit to London.

Unfortunately Mr Ibrahim had to cancel other prime time interview offers, including a top slot at the BBC, when he was forced to cut short his visit and return back to Malaysia at short notice.

It has now emerged that the Federal Court ruling on his prosecution for sodomy will be announced on 28th of the month.  Anwar had originally been found innocent after a prolonged trial by the High Court, which ruled there was no evidence on which the convict the opposition leader.

However, in a surprise move, shortly after his PR coalition won a majority of the popular vote in the ensuing general election, prosecutors appealed the acquittal.

The Appeal Court ruled against the High Court judgement in a lightening half hour sitting, sentencing the opposition leader to 5 years in prison.  Anwar appealed against that ruling to the final arbiter, which is the Federal Court.

Meanwhile, the prosecutors also appealed to the Federal Court on the basis that the sentence was not long enough!

The homophobic nature of these charges and the clear political motivations behind this trial have stirred considerable international interest and have further tarnished Malaysia’s earlier reputation as a moderate and liberal Muslim state.


23 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?


Universiti Malaya students today warned the management not to stop an event involving PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim scheduled for next Monday, ahead of his Federal Court appeal.

The Universiti Malaya Students’ Association (PMUM) said the university, as a public institution, belonged to all Malaysians who should be allowed to hear Anwar speak.

PMUM president Fahmi Zainol said it was inviting Anwar to speak at the event “40 years: from University of Malaya to prison”.

“The event marks Anwar’s journey from his days as a student here in Universiti Malaya to his present predicament,” Fahmi said in a statement today, referring to Anwar’s final appeal to the Federal Court against his sodomy conviction.

“We are extending the invitation to Anwar to address the students,” he said of the event to be held at the Dewan Tunku Canselor Square next Monday at 9pm.

Fahmi said UM belonged to all Malaysians, hence if there was any attempt to stop the event, all Malaysians would be invited to enter the campus grounds.

“This is not just a question of justice for Anwar, but it also involves the students’ freedom which is stated in the spirit of academic freedom.

“UM students support the principle of academic freedom and humanities. We intend to spread this principle to overcome the boundaries of political ideologies, race and religion.”

Fahmi said public universities were built with taxpayers’ funds and it would be wrong for the management to prevent non-students from joining the event.

The Dewan Tunku Canselor Square was also a public area, Fahmi said.

“The event is not only open to UM students, but to all Malaysians and foreigners to participate. Let us find the truth together,” he said.

The federal court is scheduled to hear Anwar’s appeal on his sodomy conviction on October 28 and 29.

On March 7, the Court of Appeal overturned his sodomy acquittal by the High Court two years earlier.

The appellate court found Anwar guilty of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan 26, at a unit at the Desa Damansara condominium in Bukit Damansara between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

Anwar was sentenced to five years’ jail but was granted a stay of execution, pending an appeal to the Federal Court.

23 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?

23 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?


The nation should look beyond race and all citizens should be allowed to feel that they are legitimate Malaysians, respected and not have their positions questioned, opposition leaders said today.

PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Malaysia might be the only nation that still obsessed with its history and how its multiracial fabric came to be.

He said other free and democratic countries have accepted all that as reality.

“(For instance, in Malaysia’s case) how Bahasa Melayu was picked as the official language of the federation is accepted by the people. But we cannot question people’s background.

“In countries like the United Kingdom and United States, I know of a congressman who had to resign for calling African-Americans Negro and questioning their position and history,” he said at Penang deputy chief minister II Dr P. Ramasamy’s Deepavali open house in Batu Kawan.

Anwar, who is opposition leader, was commenting on a recent remark by a Johor Gerakan delegate that Malays were also “pendatang” (immigrants) who came to Malaysia from Indonesia.

“Let us not talk in a way that offends others. Why must we talk about ‘pendatang’? What’s the issue here?”

Anwar urged Putrajaya to be firm on this matter and not just speak about being multiracial, multi-religious and rejecting extremism.

“This is because those who support extremism are those who support the present (federal) government… Umno and what they outsource to NGOs (non-governmental organisations).”

DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said no one should bring up the label “pendatang”.

He said it was Pakatan Rakyat’s and the Penang government’s stand that “we are all Malaysians, regardless of race”.

“Don’t anyone talk about ‘pendatang’… we have never spoken of such a thing. It is our diversity that makes Malaysia unique.”

Lim said if action was to be taken against those who used the term, everyone who had made such remarks should also face the consequences.

“Don’t just act against some people. Take action against everyone who made the remark.

“We all know where it all started,” he added.

Gerakan delegate Tan Lai Soon was suspended by his party in a move to set an example for all other political parties.

It was not the first time the “pendatang” remark was made. In 2008, Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail made the remark to describe Chinese Malaysians who came to Malaya as immigrants during the British colonial rule.

The remark infuriated the Chinese and caused a serious rift between Umno and Gerakan in Penang. A Sin Chew reporter was detained overnight under the Internal Security Act for reporting what Ahmad had said.

Ahmad was then suspended from Umno and stripped of his party post for three years. He has since returned to politics as well as his old Bukit Bendera division chief post.

In May this year, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman also courted controversy when he described the Chinese as intruders brought in by the British. He is facing a sedition trial over the remark.

Meanwhile, Anwar said his programmes in Penang, Perak and Kedah during Deepavali had to go on because he has “very limited time before his case on October 28″.

“If the court goes by principles of the law and facts, then I am not a bit worried. I will be given my freedom.

“If there are orders otherwise, then it may be a long time until we all meet again. I will speak on this in my ceramah tonight,” he said, wishing Happy Deepavali to those celebrating the festival.

When asked if PR would give Hindus two days public holiday should it take over Putrajaya in the future, he said it was more important to give the community the recognition it deserved.

“That should be our priority. The public holiday would not matter much even if we give three days, but continue to offend and sideline the communities in the estates.”

23 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?


Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said there are bigger problems in the country than the recent “I Want to Touch a Dog” which he said has been turned into “a national issue that threatens the nation”.

“There are Muslims who are involved in gambling firms and beer companies. A minister’s family member has a multi-million ringgit security labelling contract for liquor and beer.

“Have the ustazs said anything about this and about big shots who consume alcohol?” he said at a “Rakyat Hakim Negara” gathering in Seberang Jaya last night.

The ‘I Want to Touch a Dog’ event in Bandar Utama last Sunday drew more than 1,000 people including Muslims, but its organiser Syed Azmi Al-Habshi has since become a victim of abuse online and even received death threats.

The event, which was aimed at helping people to overcome their fear of dogs and to understand canines better, infuriated religious authorities, with some Muslims condemning it as an attempt to insult the ulama (clerics).

Anwar said he was asked on Twitter if he supported the act of Muslims touching dogs, which were regarded as ‘unclean’ animals.

“I said no. If (a Muslim) wants the touch a dog, just ‘samak’ (cleanse) after that. What is the big problem?

“A national issue that threatens the country is now young people (Muslims) wanting to touch dogs?”

Anwar joked if Muslims would also have trouble touching money previously in the hands of the Chinese who eat pork.

The crowd burst into laughter when he asked if he should do ritual purification for touching Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

“He hugs me whenever we meet so do I have to ‘samak’ after that?”

At the event last night, Anwar, who is PKR de facto leader, told the crowd that it could be his last ceramah for a long time if his sodomy appeal at Federal Court on October 28 does not succeed.

Anwar was sentenced to five years jail in March on a charge of sodomising his former aide, after the Appeals Court overturned an earlier acquittal by the High Court.

The Permatang Pauh MP said he spurned offers to live abroad to avoid persecution because he wanted to set a good example to youths and show them the struggles that were needed to bring change in the country.

“If it is necessary in order to raise the awareness of youths, then I will face the test,” he said.

“After me, it will be (Bagan Serai MP N.) Surendran, Mat Sabu (PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu) … beratur (lining up).

“They think if I am in jail, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will crumble but it won’t. It will rise up stronger to fight Barisan Nasional (BN)…that is our oath.”

Referring to 1998 episode when he was assaulted under police custody resulting in a black eye, Anwar said he hoped the incident would not repeat.

“Before I was jailed, I didn’t believe I would be beaten. But I was assaulted and they said I had beaten myself up,” he said.

The gathering had a slow start due to heavy rain, but the ceramah went on and the crowd grew larger.

PAS central committee member and Parit Buntar MP, Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa (pic, right), said the struggle was not about Anwar but about justice for all Malaysians.

“Whether Anwar is freed or jailed, PR’s struggle will continue,” he said, adding that the coalition had seen and survived tough times by solving their issues, and would face future tests calmly.

Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, said if Anwar is jailed for five years, “we will wait for him”.

“There may also be a wave of reformasi nationwide, which can help get him out sooner,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mohamad (pic, left) described the recently-tabled Budget 2015 as good but its implementation “penipu” (a sham).

This, he said, was because there was no mention on the expenses for prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife’s trips overseas, among others.

“Problems of corruption, misappropriation, power abuse will continue,” said Mohamad, also known as Mat Sabu.

He said Indonesia had bigger corruption problems but its government had jailed eight ministers, and before new president Joko Widodo appointed his Cabinet ministers, their names were sent to the country’s anti-corruption body for vetting.

Mat Sabu said television channels in the republic gave air time to presidential candidates from rival parties.

“In Malaysia, the opposition hardly gets coverage on TV,” he said, adding that Najib was getting unpopular and reforms only could be possible under PR.

21 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?

21 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?


Deepavali atau Diwali berasal dari bahasa Sanskrit “D?pãvali” yang bermaksud ‘deretan cahaya’ yang disambut sebagai pesta cahaya dan simbol kemenangan kebaikan ke atas kejahatan. Bait dari Thirukural ada menyebut;

“Sesungguhnya dengan amalan kebaikan maka hadirlah kemuliaan, sesungguhnya kejahatan itu menjelma apabila kita melupakan amalan kebaikan”

Dari bait itu jelas beri mesej yang sangat mustahak kepada kita – iaitu – setiap kali kita mendekati kezaliman dan melakukan perbuatan jahat maka semakin malaplah kemuliaan, keadilan serta karamah insaniah.

Justeru, perjuangan menaiktaraf kualiti hidup kaum India di Malaysia terutama sekali di dalam isu pendidikan dan kebajikan rakyat luar bandar wajib terus diperjuangkan oleh seluruh rakyat Malaysia yang cintakan keadilan dan menolak kezaliman.

Akhir sekali, saya ucapkan Deepavali Nal Valthukal kepada seluruh masyarakat India dan Sikh yang meraikannya.


21 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?

The Jakarta Post

A delegation from a Malaysian opposition party urged Australia’s government on Tuesday to use its influence to discourage authorities in Malaysia from fanning Islamic radicalism for political gain.

Three lawmakers from Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s People’s Justice Party met with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in her Parliament House office to discuss Malaysia’s checkered human rights record and the ruling UMNO party’s attitude toward extremism.

Delegation leader Rafizi Ramli said before the meeting that the United Malays National Organisation was equating opposition to the party as opposition to Islam, dividing voters along racial and religious lines.

He said that a recent rise of “far right wing and racist groups” in Malaysia endorsed by the UMNO posed a threat to Australia as a regional neighbor.

“In an environment where the state subtly and indirectly endorses criticisms and intimidation against a minority, it is easier for the messages of radical groups likes ISIS to take hold,” Rafizi told reporters, referring to the Islamic State group.

“When the Malaysian government is seen to be complicit or indirectly endorsing the rise of radicalism for its political maneuvering and expediency, the Australian government is expected to take a strong stand and communicate and impress upon other governments that it cannot be tolerated,” he added.

UMNO officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Bishop confirmed that “the risk posed to our region by foreign fighters” was discussed at the 30-minute meeting with Rafizi and his Malaysian colleagues Sim Tze Tzin and Lee Chean Chung.

“The Australian government is aware of about 160 Australians fighting for or supporting terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria; I understand there are a similar number of Malaysian citizens who are fighting for or supporting ISIL,” Bishop said in a statement.

“Australia is working closely with regional and international partners to respond to this threat,” she added.

The meeting was also attended by independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who was deported on arrival at Kuala Lumpur airport in February last year. He had intended to investigate Malaysia’s electoral system ahead of elections that returned a UMNO-led coalition to power with a smaller majority.

Xenophon praised Rafizi’s People’s Justice Party for being outspoken against extremism.

“I’m very disturbed at the pandering to extremists and the behavior of the ruling UMNO coalition,” Xenophon said.

Tuesday’s meeting came a week before a Malaysian court rules on Anwar’s appeal on sodomy convictions that his supporters say are based on trumped-up charges.

Malaysian police announced last week that they have detained 14 Muslims, including two women and a student, suspected of being linked to the Islamic State group.

The detentions brought the number of people held for suspected militant links to 36 since April.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said the arrests showed his government was serious about routing out militants.

21 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?


Najib Abdul Razak and Umno Baru were denied an early Deepavali present when opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim dismissed all talk of going into exile, in London.

Just imagine the headlines in Utusan Malaysia and TV3 if Anwar had chosen exile: ‘Coward Anwar seeks exile to escape jail’, ‘Exile proves Anwar’s guilt’, ‘Anwar abandons followers, lives in luxury in London’, ‘We told you so; Anwar is scared to face the truth’.

When he was interviewed by The Daily Telegraph, Anwar expressed no plans to form a government in exile, in London, despite unsuccessful attempts by his friends to convince him to stay. He admitted the strain placed on his family. He was sanguine about reform.

He said, “It is very difficult, particularly for my family. But when I started this case for reform in Malaysia I knew it was not going to be easy.”

If Anwar had chosen exile, Najib would have effectively isolated Anwar from his followers. The rakyat would not be spared either. They would be told that throwing their money and weight behind Anwar was wasteful, and their support for the opposition a futile cause.

Najib knows that having Anwar in exile is as good as putting him behind bars; but there are subtle differences.

People who have conducted a long-distance romance know that the relationship could suffer without complete commitment and absolute trust. The pressures and sacrifices are enormous. Anwar, in exile, and his supporters would face the same test. Who would falter first?

In recent months, many disillusioned Malaysians have had their confidence shaken by the troubles in Pakatan. In the recent Kajang move, PAS appeared to be hastening the break-up of the coalition.

Disheartened Malaysians should heed Anwar’s words. When he led the charge for reform, he knew it was going to be a long haul. Change is not for the faint-hearted. Decades of Umno Baru’s decadent and divisive rule, cannot be unravelled overnight. Are we all prepared to wait?

Anwar has laid the foundations for change, and although he risks losing his freedom, we have nothing to lose, apart from some sleepless nights, or our cool, when we are spat on, in a peaceful protest, by pro-government thugs.

If he were to be jailed, Anwar’s companions will be a few books, if his captors allow him that luxury, and the cockroaches in his cell. In relative freedom, we have the companionship and support of one another, to continue the reform agenda.

Jailing Anwar is not a simple matter for it presents Umno Baru with several dilemmas.

First. Jail might make Anwar a martyr. Umno Baru will want to avoid this at all costs.

Second. Jail reduces many of the opportunities to distract the rakyat. At present, our attention is immediately diverted, should any bad news emerge. Notice how the major corruption or religious scandals are immediately preceded by yet another Anwar sexposé? Sex sells, especially among the Malays.

Whetting our appetite for change

Third. Jail will not isolate Anwar. He may be physically removed, from our presence, but he has whetted our appetite for change. His absence will focus Malaysian minds and provide renewed momentum for change. It will prove to the authorities that we are capable of leading the charge, by ourselves.

Jailing Anwar may backfire on Najib. Urgings for reform will be re-energised with vengeance.

Anwar said that his exile would have a detrimental effect on Malaysians, especially its youth. He knows that responsible leaders are important role models. He said, “…if people like me can’t stand up against these atrocities what can we expect from young people?”

He is right. The problem is not always with our leaders. Our youth can be equally perplexing.

Two days before Anwar’s interview with The Daily Telegraph, PAS president Hadi Awang (right) had given a talk to Malaysian students in London.

Responding to a question fielded by a student, Hadi told his audience that women were perfectly suited to be leaders in their respective fields, but that they had no legitimacy to be leaders of the state, or the nation. He stressed that the woman’s importance lay in nurturing the family unit.

There is sex equality in Islam, so one must assume that Hadi is a closet misogynist. Why has he avoided the remarkable women leaders from the decadent west and Israel? Any Malaysian woman who aspires to be a menteri besar, or prime minister should avoid Hadi.

He has conveniently ignored the women leaders in Pakistan and Bangladesh, both Muslim nations. He has forgotten the succession of six Queens who ruled the Kingdom of Patani in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The PAS president is entitled to his views, but more shocking was the reaction of some female students that night. They agreed that Malay women should not aspire to be PM.

It appears that Anwar has much unfinished business amongst the Malay community. We still need him to free young Malay minds from the bondage of conservative Islam, Malay feudalism and subservient culture. Without Anwar, few Malay women will contribute to nation-building.

21 October 2014


Pendapat Anda?

The Sydney Morning Herald

While Indonesia marked another democratic advance on Monday, democracy in neighbouring Malaysia goes backwards.

Indonesia inaugurates the man that most voters chose to be leader, while Malaysia concludes a sham trial to destroy the man that most voters chose to be leader.

Indonesia is conducting the first transfer of power from one directly elected president to another.

And Malaysia? It remains under the control of the same party that has ruled continuously since independence in 1957.

“While Indonesia is making huge progress, we are rewinding and the democratic space is going back to the Mahathir era of the 1990s,” says Malaysia’s opposition treasury spokesman, Rafizi Ramli, during a visit to Australia on Monday. “We have not recovered from last year’s election.”

There is more than democracy at stake. A professor of political science at Monash University’s Malaysian campus, James Chin, says: “In Malaysia, politics is being hijacked by political Islam. It really worries me. They are putting Malay supremacy together with Islamic supremacy.”

The foundation stone of the perennially ruling party was always racial discrimination – special favour to native Malays over all other citizens, including the country’s sizeable Chinese and Indian minorities.

But now it’s pursuing policies of religious discrimination as well, says Mr Chin: “Previously, they tried to regulate the body and behaviour of Muslims; now, they are trying to regulate the body and behaviour of non-Muslims too.”

He contrasts this with Indonesia, where a secular state does not impose Islamic standards on other faiths. It’s one thing to fine Muslims for drinking alcohol, says Mr Chin, but now there are attempts to penalise non-Mulsims taking part in Oktoberfest in Malaysia.

The authoritarian nature of the Najib government will be on display to the world next week when it renews its courtroom persecution of the opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar was the subject of one of the world’s most ridiculous political persecutions, an effort by the then prime minister, Mahathir Mohammed, to ruin him by accusing him of sodomy. And now, a ruling on the sequel: Sodomy 2.

He was the deputy prime minister to Mahathir when they had a falling out in 1998. The foolish and farcical pursuit of Anwar failed to ruin him, but it did turn him into a formidable leader of the opposition.

Anwar spent six years in jail before a court overturned his conviction. He emerged to lead an energised campaign at the 2013 election. So the Malaysian people delivered their own verdict on Anwar and his Pakatan Rakyat, or People’s Pact party.

The opposition under Anwar won 51 per cent of the vote at the 2013 election, but only 40 per cent of parliamentary seats.

It was a record result for an opposition and it shook the government. Even in a manipulated system, the ruling party, for the first time, had failed to win a majority of votes.

The result scared the government of Najib Razak into reviving its favoured tactic for repressing Anwar:  the charge of sodomy. Sodomy 2 had been running for a while, but after the High Court knocked out the latest sodomy charge against the married father of five, the government took its trumped-up case to Malaysia’s Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal overturned the High Court. It gave Anwar a five-year jail sentence. He is free on bail pending appeal. On the weekend he flew home from London to Kuala Lumpur for final appeals. His supporters fear the outcome: “Quite a few of my friends have tried to persuade me to stay away,” Anwar told British media just before boarding the plane home.

The prosecution is asking for an even longer jail term.

In an extraordinary illustration of the government’s contortions in its manic determination to get Anwar, the prosecution will not be led by the a lawyer from the prosecution system but a private lawyer hired by the state. Experts say there is no precedent in Malaysian jurisprudence.

In fact, the prosecution is to be conducted by the personal lawyer for Mr Najib.

The political crackdown is much wider than Anwar. Human Rights Watch has detailed at least 14 cases this year where the government has brought spurious charges against political opponents and activists under the 1948 Sedition Act. One opposition politician faces the prospect of five years in jail for saying “damn UMNO”. UMNO is Najib’s political party.

The Najib government has two options, according to the opposition’s Rafizi Ramli: “It can reform and allow more democratic space. Or they can go for the crackdown, and risk an even worse backlash from the public.”

He has personal experience of the crackdown. Before entering politics he ran a corruption-busting NGO that exposed a Najib government minister misusing a $A90 million taxpayer loan. Instead of setting up a cattle farm, she was using the money to buy luxury apartments.

The expose forced the minister to resign. But now Mr Ramli is the one facing jail. He’s facing the risk of three years in jail for breaching banking secrecy laws in disclosing the corruption. Mr Ramli, the man who busted the scam, is the only person charged over it.

Mr Ramli, also the secretary-general of the opposition party, is in Canberra on Tuesday, leading a delegation. He’s hoping to convince Australian politicians to help coax Mr Najib  from authoritarianism to democratic openness.

Professor Chin says Mr Ramli has no hope of support from the Australian government: “The Abbott government loves Najib.”

Australia favours the Najib government based on a long-standing view that Malaysia is a modern, Western, secular, like-minded power in a region fretting about a backward Indonesia, he says.

But Indonesia is modernising and it is Malaysia that is going backwards. “The romantic view of Malaysia,” says Chin, “is based on a country that hasn’t existed for the last ten years.”‘

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