Archive for August 3rd, 2008

Permatang Pauh by-election – turn it into a mini political tsunami

The voters of Permatang Pauh have a historic opportunity to create a mini-political tsunami in the impending by-election with far-reaching impact to the national political landscape far exceeding the fate of an individual or a constituency.

The stakes involved in the Permatang Pauh by-election is not just about an individual and a constituency but the future of the Malaysian people and nation.

The issue in the Permatang Pauh by-election is not whether Pakatan Rakyat leader and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim can win but whether he can achieve a thumping and landslide victory with a majority bigger than the 13,388-vote majority won by PKR President Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the March 8, 2008 general election.

If Anwar can win the Permatang Pauh by-election with an even greater majority won by Azizah five months ago, despite an even more massive onslaught by the whole weight of the Barisan Nasional juggernaut, it would have a special import in shaping the development of the Malaysian political landscape. Read the rest of this entry »


2 notorious cases challenge Malaysia’s modesty

International Herald Tribune
By Thomas Fuller

Friday, August 1, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: Government censors in this majority Muslim nation uphold an ethos of modesty by snipping sex scenes from films and ordering entertainers to avoid outfits that reveal too much on Malaysian stages – bare belly buttons and figure-hugging outfits are off limits.

But these days Malaysians looking to avoid R-rated content might be advised to read past news reports about their own leaders. Top politicians are embroiled in two scandals involving accusations of sodomy and the gruesome murder of a Mongolian mistress.

Reports on the finer points of a rectal examination and revelations about the sexual preferences of the dead mistress make other sex scandals that once shocked people here – such as Monica Lewinsky and her blue dress – seem almost Victorian.

This is not the first time that sex and politics have publicly collided in Malaysia. The trial of Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister, for sodomy in the 1990s featured, among other highlights, a blood-stained mattress being hauled into the courtroom.

This time, wider use of the Internet has helped disseminate documents, facts and rumors that would otherwise have been filtered out of mainstream news media tightly controlled by the government.

The two scandals encompass much more than just sex. They are part of a broader clash between two men vying for power: Anwar is facing new allegations of sodomy at a time when he is vowing to unseat the governing party, while the other scandal involves Anwar’s principal political rival, Najib Razak, the deputy prime minister and anointed heir to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

What is worrying for many Malaysians is that the gloves appear to have come off in the high-stakes fight between Anwar and Najib. Read the rest of this entry »