How prophetic that in 2020, the ideals of a wealthy nation enjoying economic prosperity, social well-being and a world class education, will all be overshadowed by one major event; the release of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim from jail.
So, instead of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad being lauded for his vision of a self-sufficient industrialised nation, the irony is that there will be a celebration of Mahathir’s long-term foe being freed.
If our ministers are to be believed, we are already blessed with world class educational institutions. As for social well-being, our prime minister and his family’s socialite existence have made headlines around the world.
Umno Baru would like you to believe that Anwar’s incarceration was not politically motivated, but there are several signs of this being a political imprisonment.
First: Najib’s lack of imagination.
Mahathir was probably horrified when his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi released Anwar from prison. Najib was then given the mandate to rule, and replace the recalcitrant Abdullah.
Umno Baru’s wake-up call, after the 2008 elections, meant that Anwar (left) was a serious threat. Behind the scenes, the Putrajaya’s battle cry was probably, ‘Stop Anwar now, because he will stop us from ruling the nation and we will lose our power’.
Najib Abdul Razak and his team lack creativity and drive. Hence, another charge of sodomy was used to trap Anwar. Mahathir must have torn his hair out when his protégé merely copied the sodomy plan. Perhaps Najib believed that a tried and tested method was best.
All Najib had to do was to find a fall guy, and he was lucky. One of his special advisers introduced him to a university drop-out, and a plan was hatched. The rest is history.
Second: It takes two to tango.
The complainant Saiful Bukhari Azlan cannot decide if he was voluntarily or forcibly sodomised. He claimed that he carried a tube of KY jelly for less painful sex. So why go through the charade of being forcibly sodomised?
If he was a willing partner, why is he not charged as well? Cases like these dent public confidence in our legal system. It only confirms our suspicions that special laws exist for those who are well connected.
Third: Archaic laws in ultra-modern Malaysia.
Why do we still retain the archaic provision, under the Penal Code, which criminalises sodomy and oral sex? We have wasted money and time trying to find Anwar guilty, when there are more pressing issues facing the rakyat.
This archaic law is just another gadget in the Umno Baru tool box to be used against select individuals as and when required.
Fourth: Umno Baru took fright.
When Pakatan announced the ‘Kajang move’ one year ago, Putrajaya was shell-shocked. The implications were clear. Putrajaya would have been within Anwar’s grasp and Pakatan would have scored a moral victory, had it succeeded.
The ‘Kajang move’ would have been a good political strategy, otherwise why was Umno Baru frightened?
There were probably several high powered meetings to thwart Pakatan’s plans. In the end, the legal eagles provided the best solution. The Court of Appeal brought forward Anwar’s appeal, from the agreed hearing dates of April 7 and 10, to March 6 and 7.
They had to convict Anwar, before he could topple Umno Baru.
Fifth: Hijacking justice with repeated persecutions.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court’s January 2012 decision had found Anwar innocent of sodomy, but the Court of Appeal overturned this ruling and found Anwar guilty.
Why did the courts bring forward the appeal dates and not allow Anwar’s legal team ample time to prepare its submissions, refuse Karpal Singh an adjournment and not allow him the opportunity to obtain Anwar’s medical report? Karpal Singh only had seven days to prepare for the appeal. One is forced to wonder why Karpal Singh died so suddenly.
Sixth: Calling in favours.
Sentencing Anwar at a rushed appeal was insufficient. They had to destroy his political future, wear down the opposition coalition and punish them for their audacity. Umno Baru then called in favours from their sympathisers.
PAS’ Hadi Awang played his role, albeit crudely, but his delay tactics worked to antagonise the public against Pakatan. Hadi may fear women, but he fears Umno Baru more.
As we know, any Malay who cares to listen to Umno Baru is usually promised ‘the moon and the stars’, in instalments.
Anwar is the most vocal critic of the government’s corruption, human rights abuses and injustice. He brought three divergent parties together to form a credible opposition. Anwar is symbolic, because he represents the many freedoms which have been stolen by Umno Baru. Anwar was detained in a discriminatory manner, in a judiciary process that was unfair and politically motivated. His detention is purely for political reasons.