Archive for February 5th, 2010

Malaysia on trial along with Anwar

By Barry Wain | The Age, Australia

The last time Malaysia’s former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim was charged with sodomy, the country’s judicial system was on trial. This time around, the stakes are even higher.

If Anwar is convicted, in a case that opened in Kuala Lumpur’s High Court on Tuesday, Malaysians can wave goodbye to the best chance of developing a two-party political system in more than half a century.

It will also end any real prospect of Malaysia extricating itself from corrosive race-based politics, and signal the former British territory’s continued descent into self-destructive extremism.

Over the past two years, the charismatic Anwar, 62, has achieved what many analysts thought was impossible. He has tacked together three disparate political parties and formed a credible – if still fragile – opposition, representing hope for a multiracial future.
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No McCarthyism but disband BTN which had produced a generation of Nasir Safars with racist brain-washing making it the biggest enemy of Najib’s 1Malaysia campaign

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday tried to mitigate the Nasir Safar outrage claiming that it could have been “a slip of the tongue” (New Straits Times).

If so, it is a very big slip or Nasir has got a big tongue when he could in one gulp make so many offensive, insensitive and anti-1Malaysia utterances as:

  • Labelling Indians and Chinese in Malaysia as “pendatang”;

  • “Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese especially the women came to sell their bodies (jual tubuh)”;

  • Claimed that Umno was solely responsible in drafting the constitution sidelining the contribution of MCA and MIC;

  • Threat to revoke the citizenship of those vocal about the subject cap for SPM examination.

Clearly, it cannot be a madness of a moment, but madness for many moments!

Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had been very quick and prompt in damage-control, getting Nasir to resign within 12 hours of the outrage on Tuesday and declaring that the Nasir episode should be “a lesson to all” to be racially sensitive, Najib must admit that the greatest casualty is his 1Malaysia campaign.
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There they go again

The opposition leader treads a familiar path into the dock
Feb 4th 2010 | BANGKOK | From The Economist print edition

SLINGING mud at opponents is a staple of most democracies, even if voters might prefer a more sensible debate. In Malaysia, a prudish, majority-Muslim country, it seems that nothing succeeds quite like below-the-belt personal attacks. For Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader and former deputy prime minister, who went on trial this week accused of sodomising a young male aide, the tactic is wearily familiar. In 1998 he was charged with the same crime, found guilty and jailed. Exonerated and freed, he has staged a comeback that another conviction might jeopardise.

Much has changed in Malaysia since Mr Anwar last took the stand. His nemesis, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who presided over his downfall, has retired, if not exactly gracefully or quietly. The once-mighty United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which leads a 13-party multiracial governing coalition, looks increasingly vulnerable at a future election. A judiciary that was seen as beholden to its political masters has begun to assert its independence, and has sided with free-speech plaintiffs in prickly faith-related cases.

That independence will be put to the test in “Sodomy 2.0”, as Malaysia’s press has taken to calling Mr Anwar’s trial. His lawyers have pressed for the disclosure of prosecution evidence, including medical reports of the accuser, Saiful Bukhari. Read the rest of this entry »