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.

Nobody else has the organisational ability, political skills and personal trust to hold them together and provide the People’s Front, as it calls itself, with dynamic leadership.

Anwar’s legal problems should be seen in this light.

In 1998, then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad sacked Anwar as deputy premier and finance minister because he suspected Anwar was using the turmoil of the Asian economic crisis to challenge him.

Beaten viciously in custody, Anwar spent years in jail after being found guilty of corruption and sodomy in trials regarded as fatally flawed by international legal authorities. He was cleared of sodomy on appeal, but banned from seeking public office for five years.

On his return, he galvanised the fragmented opposition into a stunning psychological victory in 2008, capturing five of Malaysia’s 13 states and denying the ruling National Front coalition its customary two-thirds majority in parliament.

The opposition was able to make such gains by tapping into the “politics of disgust”, winning the support of Malaysians alienated by rampant corruption and cronyism. Significant numbers of them crossed ethnic lines to vote for candidates promising reform.

Anwar targeted the affirmative action program called the New Economic Policy, which is supposed to channel economic benefits to native peoples, predominantly Malays. The policy has been widely abused to enrich better-off Malays, notably members of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the dominant party in the 13-member National Front.

In a bold move, Anwar formulated an alternative new economic agenda to assist all poor Malaysians, based on need rather than ethnicity. Not only did droves of disaffected Chinese and Indians desert the government, but a significant percentage of Malays also switched allegiance.

UMNO, in power since Malaysia gained independence in 1957, has reacted badly to its setback. Faced with the possibility of defeat at the next elections, due in 2013, the party has concentrated on sabotaging the resurgent opposition rather than reforming itself.

Like the rerun of a bad movie, Anwar was promptly arrested and charged again with sodomy, this time on the complaint of a university drop-out who had worked briefly for Anwar. Consensual sex between males is illegal in Malaysia, punishable by 20 years’ imprisonment and caning, though the law is rarely enforced.

The public perception in Malaysia is that “sodomy 2”, as the local media dub it, is entirely political, a view shared by the international community. An Amnesty International spokesman has characterised the trial as “the same old dirty tricks” to remove Anwar from politics.

UMNO has also resorted to scaremongering, using race and religion to reinforce the fear among Malays, the majority community, that they are besieged and under threat.

UMNO was blamed for fanning racial tension when arsonists last month attacked 10 churches across the country, after a court ruled that Christians could use the Arabic word “Allah” as a translation for ”God” in the Malay language. The government insists “Allah” should be reserved solely for Muslims, despite widespread use of the word by Christians and other minorities in Arabic-speaking countries and places such as Indonesia.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, elected president of UMNO last year to replace the discredited Abdullah Badawi and stem UMNO’s decline, has talked reform and even made minor adjustments to affirmative action. But while he promotes an inclusive vision for the country under the slogan of “One Malaysia”, an UMNO-owned newspaper often carries racist commentaries.

Anwar and his allies in the People’s Front have found the going rough in the past two years. Through a mixture of inexperience and incompetence, they have underperformed in the states they control.

Still, if Anwar is jailed for sodomy, it will not only end his political career but also terminate an attempt to open up the economic and political systems of one of the Muslim world’s most important countries.

Barry Wain, writer-in-residence at the Institute of South-East Asian Studies in Singapore and author of the recently released Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times, speaks to an Asialink public event on February 16, 6pm, Level 1, Sidney Myer Asia Centre at the University of Melbourne.

  1. #1 by dagen on Friday, 5 February 2010 - 6:08 pm

    So this fella from downunder does not believe that we who are on the other side of the fence could bring about change. Of course we can. So we must show him our ability to change and our determination to see it happen with nothing less than actual results. Let us all show him we can do so with or without anwar. Let us all also show umno we will bring barisan down like a pack of cards come GE13. We will do it for malaysia. We will do it for this beautiful country of ours. Never let umno destroy it. “Selamatkan malaysia”.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Friday, 5 February 2010 - 6:11 pm

    What is significant is not the trial. What is significant is that on top of the trial, BN is triggering all the underhanded tactics it can muster to break PR – the defection talk, the Zul Nordins and Zahrain, the protests, etc, AND its NOT working…There is not even a real dent.

    Of course its still first round, there will be more salvo to come.

    If PR holds together through this trial and even if Anwar goes to jail, UMNO/BN could be undone. The warlords will realise they threw everything at PR and they did not do enough damage. They will realise that without a weak opposition, they can’t steal as much and hence less to share and a fight is eventual.

    Its higly important DAP and PAS get together to actually discuss supporting PKR to hold together. If PKR and PR does not fall apart, then the brass ring of Putrajaya is within grasp..

  3. #3 by dagen on Friday, 5 February 2010 - 7:15 pm

    Now if umno has to peer into the rear orifice of this saiful guy to find its way forward, let me tell you this, umno is really at the end of its wit and is heading for the end of the road.

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Friday, 5 February 2010 - 8:03 pm

    D whole problem with Umno B n PKR is d hole problem and it is wholesomely serious
    Which hole u may ask. Guess loh!

  5. #5 by yhsiew on Friday, 5 February 2010 - 10:08 pm

    Anwar’s sodomy II trial jangled investors’ nerves and might well derail Najib’s effort to revive the recession-hit national economy. The ruling party’s plot to put Anwar in jail will backfire if the rakyat turn to PR to give Anwar sympathy support in the 13th GE.

  6. #6 by waterfrontcoolie on Friday, 5 February 2010 - 10:13 pm

    If DSAI goes in, it gonna hurt BN bad on the next GE and so bad it may lose the key to Putrajaya resulting BR taking over in which case DSAI would still be saved. If DSAI wins this round, the result is even more formidable for BN! Bn , instead of spending its resources to REALLY build up the economy under the slogan 1Malaysia, it spends the time doing things that destroys the very idea it has spent so much to launch!! Seriously, I think it is gonna be the END of the road!

  7. #7 by Dap man on Friday, 5 February 2010 - 10:36 pm

    “…Malaysians can wave goodbye to the best chance of developing a two-party political system in more than half a century.”

    I beg to differ.
    The movement has already moved beyond Anwar. There are enough ‘brains’ to lead the Opposition.
    Meanwhile, BN will self distruct.

  8. #8 by raven77 on Friday, 5 February 2010 - 11:04 pm

    PKR has to hold on tight to Zaid Ibrahim if they want the coalition to survive….and Zaid must seize the momentinstead of being the shy bridesmaid forever….

  9. #9 by monsterball on Friday, 5 February 2010 - 11:09 pm

    The Australian Foreign Minister have said it.
    Now Barry Wain….a professional journalist….who wrote a book accusing Mahathir cheated the tax payers for 22 years….said it.
    Malaysians are sick of UMNO BARU supporting Mahathir’s evil and cruel ways ….to get rid of one they fear most.
    According……..thieves..liars….rapists…killers..all are qualified to be Prime Ministers…..except one who have unnatural sex habits.
    No no no…not gays…but normal healthy man.
    Enough are said by Malaysians and all over the world….on this sickening sodomy case.
    Najib have no bran.. to repeat performance of an idea how to get rid of Anwar…that ca only work..because it is an idea…no Muslim, dare to oppose.
    That does not mean vast majority Muslims agree too.
    It is a low low class act…. shutting Muslims mouths…using religion.
    Lets see…how sincere and truthful are Muslim voters in 13th GE.
    Let their conscience rule their votes.

  10. #10 by johnnypok on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 12:07 am

    I am sure the architect of sodomy is playing a role in this case. He has an evil heart, and such man is very dangerous. Sial Fool is a shameless pondan. He will die of AIDs.

  11. #11 by drago2008 on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 12:32 am

    Tread carefully, be fully aware there might be no election. Martial law or emergency rule may be established if Umno sees no avenue to continue its hegemony. Many of them inside cannot bear to see the Opposition take over because there’s so much to lose for them. They will fight tooth and nail to stay in control. The party is over once they lose in GE and many don’t want to face the music.

  12. #12 by kpt99 on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 12:44 am

    YB Lim,thanks a lot if you can kindly spare of your precious times to ask The Ministry Of Education what are difference between the following schools that exist in our country.1) sekolah cermalang. 2) sekolah kluster. 3) sekolah bestari 4) sekolah berpretasi tinggi. Many parents,teachers and students are confused with these type of schools.Perhaps KPM can explain to the public clearly.

  13. #13 by ablastine on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 12:58 am

    Anwar is probably more potent in jail because of Sodomy 2 than out of it. By being in jail he becomes an instant ‘martyr’ which comes with substantial sympathy votes. It would help sway a great number of fence sitter to come over his side. Further, PR had plenty of time before this to decide what to do with this eventuality and because of this they are well prepared for it. I do not expect PR to fall. In any case PKR will probably be succeeded by even stronger personalities like Zaid Ibrahim who has gain tremendour respect for what he has done so far. With incorrigible racists the likes of Nasir Safar proponding their Malays supremacy, pendatang, Indian slaves and Chinese prostitute shit, buring churches and effigy the majority of the 40% non Malay votes are already in PR pocket. The East Malaysia got quite a number of years to find why their penisular population voted against the corrupted BN regime. They would have come to their sense by the next GE. It is so stupid of the BN government to waste so much effort making up charges against Anwar. What they do not understand is that it is not Anwar that is giving the BN problems It is the dissatisfied electorate themselves. Killing the oppositions and making them martyrs isn’t going to help one bit.

  14. #14 by frankyapp on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 1:10 am

    Hey Barry Wain,I can assure you ,with or without Anwar,malaysians would not let Umno/Bn pave the way for a non-two party political system. What Umno’s doing is going to back-fire.Malaysians have enough of such sodomy nonsense. Only Umno’s top leaders are shameless and they would pay a heavy price,a defeated price in the 13th general election comes 2013. Malaysians are pretty smart,especially the voters who know who are the good guys and the bad guys. Umno/Bn have bullied opposition leaders ,left and right,99% of malaysians know about it and Umno/Bn know it too.These guys know they have no chance to retain power through GE,thus they are desperately playing various dangerous and sensitive games to break-up PR. Everybody knows Umno’s evil agenda of creating political fear,hatred amongst the multi-racial and multi-religious races through religion,divide and rule tactic,manipulate the police,the MACC,The BTN,the AG and the Judiciary to destroy at all costs whatever it takes.I can assure you guys,all these under-hand tactics by Umno/Bn would not put fear to intelligent and brave malaysian’s voters to come all out to vote for PR in the next election. Frankly speaking,Umno/Bn have done enough damage already,and what they are doing now would add further damages to themselves.Umno/Bn is beyond repairs and there’s no option to survive except death. The majority of the voters are now just waiting for judgement day to sentence Umno/Bn to death.

  15. #15 by Black Arrow on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 2:50 am

    What I fear is that as BN gets desperate, they will resort to all sorts of worse and worse underhand tactics to stay in power. As it is, they are acting like a wounded tiger now.

    Pakatan Rakyat must plan and strategise carefully as BN is launching a lot of traps to destroy Pakatan.

    With GE13 widely speculated to be held before June 2011, we are going to see lots of drama very soon as BN is hellbent on destroying Pakatan. As for the country’s economy, it is already on autopilot.

  16. #16 by johnnypok on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 2:57 am

    BN/UMNO has every thing to lose if another 513 occurs, while PR has nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Those wealthy people with big house and big cars need to worry more, when looting breaks out. “There are not enough polis personnels to look after them”, while the army may be too busy marketing and selling stolen engines.

  17. #17 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 7:10 am

    There’s a lot of trials going on here. Its not only “Malaysia on trial along with Anwar”. The BN is also on trial depending on whether it can convince people of Anwar’s guilt by securing a conviction. Even the PR is on trial, whether if Anwar were convicted, it can survive without his leadership. The writer Barry Wain apparently is doubtful PR could do so by his following words: “He has tacked together three disparate political parties and formed a credible – if still fragile – opposition, representing hope for a multiracial future…Nobody else has the organisational ability, political skills and personal trust to hold them together and provide the People’s Front, as it calls itself, with dynamic leadership….Anwar’s legal problems should be seen in this light…”.

    Who can say that the foreigner Barry Wain is wrong?

    Without Anwar, who could hold all three PKR, DAP and PAS together acceptable to all?

    Is Zaid acceptable to Amin or even other PKR’s own “Nasir Safars” that have not been disciplined/ purged from its ranks? Is Nik Aziz (suggested by Zaid) acceptable to PKR, DAP or even by his own PAS? Is Hadi acceptable to DAP or PKR? Is Kit acceptable to PKR or PAS? Even if for any reason Ku Li could parachute in is it acceptable to the leaders of all 3 component parties of PR?

    The lack of another leader acceptable to all appears the main achilles heel of the opposition Front. This has been the problem for a long while. No wonder the other side strategic planners would calculate and view the neutralisation of Anwar equals to ungluing of PR.

    Its no point saying a substantial segment of Malaysians would continue supporting Opposition against Ruling Coalition when the Opposition Front that they support is in total disarray.

    Anwar says, “don’t worry, alternative plans are in place just in case he goes behind the slammer”. If there are plans no one outside knows their viability.

  18. #18 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 7:31 am

    thE TRIAL OF aNWAR IS a tragedy of gothic proportions.

    1) It has brought to the fore and revived the memories of all that were wrong, ugly and vengeful from the Mahathir’s machiavellian regime.

    2) It has given a shitty coat of paint to Najib’s sloganeering. Now everybody seems to be thinking and talkjing that Najib’s 1talk is one helluva cheap.

    3) It has reignited the perverted roles of the PDRM, AG’s chambers and the judiciary as vials of evil and venom.

    4) Sadly, it has added yet another dunghill to Malaysia’s newgotten image as a pariah state!

    Now watch the splatter as the shit hits the fan.

  19. #19 by chengho on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 8:25 am

    what happen to Indian bashing in australia now?
    from Tan Tee beng MP; guan eng is not fit to lead penang. people in penang do not subscribe to guan eng narrow, chauvinistic and divisive politics.there are other Dap local leader , they are not arrogant or snobbish,and do not pursue the interests of one single community like guan eng.

  20. #20 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 9:02 am

    The problem of PR’s leadership, a good leader like YB LKS of inclusive approach is not acceptable by reason of race. And if you say Zaid is more acceptable has he any leg to stand on within PKR ?

    Though attacking UMNO and BN of racial policies what do those who have influence within hierarchies of relatively more Malay based parties like PKR & PAS do? Whilst desiring to portray themselves as multiracial they are still mindful of losing their pull amongst those of the Malay voters who would articulate race and religion first.

    For examples, PKR is not taking strong action against Zulkifli Noordin & Zahrain.

    “This fuzziness and lack of commitment to a clearly defined policy in PKR allows characters like Zulkifli to champion his cause, whatever that might be. He, like Hassan Ali, knows he is not going to be disciplined because he suspects his own party has not made a categorical stance on the nature of the Federal Constitution”, so said Datuk Zaid Ibrahim in the Sembang-Sembang forum in Penang 2nd Nov.

    Where’s the sense of discipline and fair play in PKR when the power play is such that its disciplinary board go after people like Zaid Ibrahim and forget about Zulkifli & Zahrain who open their mouths to mainstream media?

    So if Anwar were convicted can we ever legitimately hope a person of Zaid’s calibre can be supported within his own party PKR to helm it, much more Pakatan Rakyat coalition?

    And is PAS any different? PAS suspends the moderate Khalid Samad from posts & merely raps Hassan Ali!

    It is apparent that as at this moment the moderates within PKR and PAS lose out to the more extreme fringe of rival leaders whose rhetoric is hardly distinguishable from UMNO’s politicians.

    So if Anwar goes into the slammer and neither Kit nor Ku Li is acceptable for different reasons who else is credible to lead PR in replacement of Anwar? None seems to be in the Horizon, and what Barry Wain opines may be likely true, taking a cue from Zaid Ibrahim’s statement: “If we in the Opposition remain disunited, ideologically at odds with each other, and unable to parade capable and scandal free leaders, to inclusively represent all communities in Malaysia in a complementary way, then the abuse of power, endemic corruption and nationalist extremism we are experiencing today will remain because BN will continue to rule.”

    Pakatan Rakyat’s only reprieve is a bet – that in the absence of viable 2nd echelon alternative leadership acceptable to all 3 component parties & their supporters Anwar will continue to lead PR until the next GE on or before 2013.

    Thats a pretty long 3 years that Anwar leveraging on the delays of court process will have keep himself out of prison to continue leading the Opposition front hoping that the trial itself could in the meanwhile be portrayed to Malaysians as unjust persecution of him & Opposition, thus working against BN. The Powers-That-be on the opther hand are in control of the court process, will try to accelerate the process and expite him being put behind bars to accelerate and bring to the fore PR’s leadership crisis.

    Looks like outcome of 13th General Election may depend on the court process of how long Anwar’s lawyers can delay its final outcome (if its assumed a forgone conclusion) and how short govt lawyers can wrap it up.

  21. #21 by HJ Angus on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 10:14 am

    May13 is a long time away.
    At the time, most of the Malays driving cars were only the drivers and not the owners.
    In 2010 we see so many now driving BMWs and other exotic cars and some of their houses are palaces.
    If you notice the Anwar case is more Malays fighting Malays as many now realise that the UMNO mantra of Ketuanan is just a smokescreen for cronyism.
    Meanwhile the real natives are still struggling to attend proper schools and live in proper housing while their very livelihood is being threatened to the point of extinction as the cronies continue the rape of the forests.

  22. #22 by Comrade on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 10:27 am

    Whether DSAI is convicted or not
    PR will not go to pot
    Let us all stop the rot
    Give PR all the votes we have got

  23. #23 by dagen on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 11:39 am

    BTW, those public loos (glass with steel frame – container like design) we see popping up all over the city, yeah I notice those in the city centre have gone missing. I wonder if those elsewhere too have gone missing. [Can anyone confirm this.] Whose idea was it to plant those container-loos all over the city in the first place? How much did those loos cost us? And where have they dissapeared to? I bet is must be another umno project that cost us hundreds and hundreds of millions.

    And why am I talking about loos in this thread. Because the sodomy charge by umno is sheeet really. So lets just hope it gets flushed away. Yes. Down the toilet bowl. But I really dont know how high up I ought to pin my hope. The question is whether the umno-owned-and-controlled judiciary will defy their owner-controller and discharge their duties as judges. Some of them do and they had to face some consequences.

  24. #24 by monsterball on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 11:44 am

    Saiful said Anwar was his idol.
    Now go and put on your thinking cap…he was very young and his idol loved him.
    Imagine….idol offer to go to bed with him.
    How can hew said…he was afraid…and gave in?
    Hundreds of thousands girls idolized actors and singers…and all love sweet memories with no complaints.
    Presuming Saiful regret after the so call close encounter ..he should wash off his backside totally clean…wipe out all bad memories…correct?
    But no…he kept for two days…and then file a police report..AFTER seeing Najib and Rosmah.
    But you can bet…Anwar must go to jail…at all cost…and up to the judge to do another Paul Agustine stunt.. or be truthful to his profession.
    What ever the outcome…Najib can never win against People Power.
    He can never fight TRUTHS with LIES.

  25. #25 by rockdaboat on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 12:09 pm

    Sorry, this is off topic, but PKR really need a spring cleaning.

    To the like of Tan Tee Beng and Wee Choo Keong n ZN, we the rakyat elected you as MP not because we like you or think you’re good. We just want a strong opposition party.

    So go spent your time to help developing a strong opposition party and stop destroying Pakatan by harping on trival issues.

    It appeared to us that you’ve no talent nor capability, you could not contribute but have to resort to your current tactics to gain attention.

    Buck up or you will never get elected again, ever!!!

  26. #26 by monsterball on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 12:29 pm

    Very well said…Hj Angus.

  27. #27 by k1980 on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 12:44 pm

    At a time when their party president is facing the trial of his life in court, PKR moles such as Zulkifli, Zahrein, Tan Tee Beng and Wee Choo Keong are doing their best to break up Pakatan Rakyat.

    How to get rid of moles?

    Drown ’em

  28. #28 by dagen on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 12:46 pm

    “Jib jib boleh.”

    Of course umno knows the sheeet the country is sinking into right now. And it stinks like hell too. But they are not telling us anything. That is not their style anyway. They would rather let us grope in the dark. Hopefully, with time (and this time around, an enormous dose of good fortune too is needed) sometimes much anticipated problems could well fail to materialise or they could, somehow, resolve themselves. Its all Allah’s will, I suppose. [Important qualification: the reference to allah in the last sentence is not meant to be reference to the Allah in Islam-jenis-Umno. No confusion is intended to be caused by its use to Muslims-jenis-Umno.]

    Now why are we so bothered by the buggery of that certain idiot (whose name stinks so terribly that I cannot bring myself to mention it here)? During the first incident, we were angered and disgusted by the umno-show. But it certainly was a box-office effort. Despite the massive effort, somehow both the producers and actors of that first umno-show lost big-time in GE12. In the now showing sequel we are merely amused. We are still angry like before but less so. And the reason: umno’s stunts and tricks have all gone stale. Re-cycled and re-used ideas have a numbing effect on people’s senses and feelings. They have failed the first time to sway us and they will certainly see a much poorer result this time.

    But why are they doing it then? Remove anwar – the gelling agent in pakatan. Of course they did not realise that the “vote of disgust or disapproval” at this point in time could be enough to hammer the anchors off the MV U.M.N.O. and set the vessel adrift beyond the roaring fifties.

  29. #29 by frankyapp on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 2:26 pm

    Zulkifli Noordin,Zahrain,Tan Tee Beng and Wee Choo Keong went to the press,talked bad about their own leaders are traitors indeed. I think they have ulterior motives and conspired with Umno to bring down PR and PR’s controls state of Penang and selangor.They did it for greed and Umno/Bn is the only one could afford to pay them. I think these traitors and running dogs should be thrown into the sewage.Through PR is hurt,I think it is capable to heal its wound,re-energise,stand tall and fight with greater determination and force with Anwar or without Anwar. Remember guys ” when the tough gets tougher, the tough gets going ” Hence Jeffrey,you see PR looks superficially fragile and frail but we have not seen what is it inside. We cannot judge the book by its cover,right .When it’s time to save Malaysia,I think all PR’s leaders would leave race and religion alone and be able to re-group to fight its common enemy ie Umno/Bn. Remember Chang Kai Siak and Mao Tse Tung saved China by joining hands to finish off the Japanese . Therefore I still think PR can defeat Umno/Bn and save Malaysia.

  30. #30 by DCLXVI on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 3:36 pm

    chengho: “what happen to Indian bashing in australia now?”

    Isn’t that unfortunately because of the existence of white Australian versions of Ahmad Ismail & Nasir Safar that advocates the dominance and supremacy of the white race or ‘ketuanan orang putih’ in Australia?

    chengho: “from Tan Tee beng MP; guan eng is not fit to lead penang. people in penang do not subscribe to guan eng narrow, chauvinistic and divisive politics.there are other Dap local leader , they are not arrogant or snobbish,and do not pursue the interests of one single community like guan eng.”

    When the previous Penang DCM1 from PKR had to resign after being hounded/pressured by a MACC investigation which was later ‘conveniently’ dropped, UMNO-BN politicians bashed LGE, asking whether LGE is really in power as the CM of Penang while waiting for PKR to choose a candidate suitable as a replacement DCM1. So, although LGE had extended PKR, DAP’s political ally, the courtesy of choosing a DCM1 replacement, LGE gets accused of being a dictator?
    Compare this to how the so-called hero of Bukit Bendera UMNO, Ahmad Ismail, had allowed his supporters to tear up photos of Koh Tsu Koon, former Penang CM and supposedly UMNO’s own political ally.

  31. #31 by Onlooker Politics on Saturday, 6 February 2010 - 9:09 pm

    “Thats a pretty long 3 years that Anwar leveraging on the delays of court process will have keep himself out of prison to continue leading the Opposition front hoping that the trial itself could in the meanwhile be portrayed to Malaysians as unjust persecution of him & Opposition, thus working against BN. The Powers-That-be on the other hand are in control of the court process, will try to accelerate the process and expite him being put behind bars to accelerate and bring to the fore PR’s leadership crisis.” (Jeffrey)

    No doubt Anwar’s leadership quality and charisma were the important factors which brought about the coalition of Pakatan Rakyat among three component parties, namely PKR, PAS and DAP. However, please don’t forget that the coalition of Pakatan Rakyat was shaped up only after three component parties of PR had gained a turning-point political advent after 308 General Election, when Barisan Nasional had lost the state ruling power in Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor to the Opposition parties while PAS was still keeping the state ruling power in Kelantan.

    Therefore Anwar was not the solely and only factor which caused unity to three component parties of PR. Other common goals, such as the goal of acquiring the ruling power in order to form a government and the goal to stop the monopoly of political power by Umno-led Barisan Nasional, were also the critical factors which helped to garnish three component parties and bring them together to form a state government.

    If Anwar is to be put behind bar again, his wife Dr. Wan Azizah will still be able to play an important role to unite three component parties of PR, simply because the respectable personal traits of Dr. Wan Azizah will give no legitimate excuse to any party warlords to want to have a feud within one of the loosening disciplined component party of PR. The sheer fact of Anwar’s being put behind bar as a result of unfair trial will continue to become the focus of Malaysian people. This fact itself will help to build up a huge momentum of opposition tsunami based on the reason that majority people on-the-street will have the clear personal conscience to hate unrighteous deeds and injustice, which will be perceived by many to have been done by Barisan Nasional power-that-be on Anwar in the case of Sodomy II and also on Pakatan Rakyat in the coup d’etat of Perak State ruling power.

    So long as YB Kit is still able to maintain a good rapport with the Central Committee of both PKR and PAS, the coalition of Pakatan Rakyat will still be able to function properly
    even without Anwar’s personal attendance in the coalition meetings. The common interests among these three component parties of Pakatan Rakyat will continue to serve as the garnishing force for cohesiveness of PR’s multi-cultural and multi-religious members. The danger of disintegration among PR’s component parties will only arise when YB Kit fails to curb the emotional plays which are to be aroused or will be aroused by certain popular but narrow-minded PR members who can only rely on playing communal politics in order to maintain their respective warlord power and status within their own election constituency.

    YB Kit will be a decisive factor in shaping the future of Pakatan Rakyat.

  32. #32 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 7 February 2010 - 12:17 am

    This is in address of Onlooker Politics preceding comments in posting #31.
    It may be consoling to hold the view that “ Pakatan is a lot bigger than one person. It is a movement for change. The glue is not in the person. The glue is in the message, in the political ideals.” – Words from Zaid Ibrahim himself when interviewed by Deborah Loh of Nut Graph 9th Nov.

    But what we emotionally like or don’t like is one thing. What are however the objective facts? True, there are some common political ideals otherwise there won’t evolve a Common Policy Framework. However there may be many differences of policies that are not addressed and shelved (deliberately) to maintain an outward united front. A lot of this may be due to Anwar, the glue! Don’t forget if Anwar goes back to Prison, he immediately looses his MP seat and PKR will need a new party leader, and by extension Pakatan Rakyat too will need a new opposition head! Will common political ideals embodied in Common Policy Framework (in absence of Anwar) outweigh (1) ideological differences between (say) PAS’s faction led by Hadi and DAP or those of Zulkifli Noordin and Zaid/DAP and (2) the factor of power struggle immediately within PKR?

    Unless one does not think there’s much of a power struggle; that Wan Azizah will be allowed to smoothly stand again at Permatan Pauh, win, become caretaker in the meanwhile as PR sails into victory in next election and then pardon Anwar!

    Is it reasonable to discount factor of ideological and other differences providing excuse for mpower struggle?

    Here are some examples of differences and power struggle even before – and possibly in anticipation of – Anwar being imprisoned by reason of Sodomy II:-

    · the earlier episode involving Nik Aziz’s faction and Hadi faction ovr tthe issue of Unity Talk with UMNO;

    · recent tiffs between Zulkifli Nordin versus Zaid over the former making a police report against Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad over Allah issue (intra PKR);

    · Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Hassan Ali versus Selangor MB PR Khalid over Low Siew Moi’s appointment as GM to PKNS as well as issue of Select Committee for competency, accountability and transparency (‘SELCAT’); (Inter parties within PR)

    · Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad’s tiff with Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Hassan Ali over latter’s criticism of SELCAT(intra PAS);

    · PKR Gombak MP Azmin tiff with Zaid over the latter’s intent to go to Sabah to look at local grievances there, resultuing in Zaid taking 6 months leave when Anwar sided Azmin (Intra PKR) ;

    · PKR Azmin differences with Selangor MB (Khalid Ibrahim) on reshuffling of the Selangor state exco (Intra PKR);

    · PKR’s Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng, Bayan Baru MP Datuk Zahrain Mohd Hashim latest joined by Wangsa Maju MP to attack Lim Guan Eng (intra PKR).

    If Anwar were really imprisoned would these discord and power struggle be less? Who would replace Anwar in PKR as party leader – and Pakatan Rakyat as Opposition leader acceptable to all as the glue???

  33. #33 by johnnypok on Sunday, 7 February 2010 - 3:11 am

    That pondan should be sent to hell before he infects more innocent people with the ‘sodomee” virus.

  34. #34 by Lee Wang Yen on Sunday, 7 February 2010 - 7:10 am

    I think Jeffrey’s worry is well justified. According to Malaysiakini, PAS has once again offered to talk to UMNO.

  35. #35 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 7 February 2010 - 8:18 am

    Per Lee Wang Yen’s comments, PAS wanting to talk to UMNO is more the disconcerting because it was announced by no less a PAS leader than the venerable spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat (who in the past had been a bulwark resisting, and indeed condemned the other faction’s inclination to talk to UMNO)!

    Even the side (UMNO) that stands possibly to benefit more by the rekindling the PAS-UMNO conversation is ostensibly surprised – when PM Najib noted, “I don’t know what to say as his (PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat) stand changes like the weather. Sometimes he agrees, sometimes he disagrees and sometimes it is closed. So, I don’t know his real stand.” I’d say neither does Kit and DAP!

    I can only speculate on why this flip flop.

    Politicians in general – and PAS’s ones are no different – first priority is weigh all oiptions and choose one that gets to power necessary to attain their collective political agenda/vision and personal ambitions by surest and quickest route…

    Then before DNA Act passed/sperm etc prospects of next electoral victory by Anwar led Pakatan Rakyat were brighter, and with victory PAS would be in vantage point to reassert and pressure for more meaningful implementation of the main aspects of its theocratic agenda than to talk and join UMNO as junior partner like the rest of BN’s enunch parties under big brother’s hegemony….

    But now with that prospects of PR victory receding farther and farther with prospects of Anwar being imprisoned (greater and greater based on DNA evidence) – due to no conceivable 2nd echelon PR leader having the moral authority to command everyone else’s support to stand in Anwar’s stead – there is a resurgence of this idea of PAS talking to UMNO in the hope that power sharing upon UMNO’s terms is still better than no power at all if PR in absence of Anwar makes no headway in the next GE.

    Its the principle of half a loaf is better than none; the principle that aged leaders within PAS couldn’t wait longer to stick to a Cause that will take a much longer time to realise, if Anwar were imprisoned. It is also a move now made easier when the Allah Controversy blew up.

    Sure there’s a common political ideals underpinning a Common Policy Framework written by liberal and lawyer Zaid Ibrahim (“CPF”) : but frankly can one reasonably believe PAS’s leaders are more committed to CPF than their personal ambitions or traditional theocratic agenda? One must be very sanguine to hope that. This just my personal opinion.

  36. #36 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 7 February 2010 - 10:57 pm

    If the so-called Common Policy Framework (“CPF”) did really entail some universal principles such as the principle of religious tolerance and the principle of social harmony which permit the intimate cooperations between two parties which hold different faiths, then the ultimate objective of CPF may not necessarily go against the personal ambitions or traditional theocratic agenda of PAS leaders. There is indeed vainglory for anyone of us to be keen in showing too much fear and worry on PAS theocratic agenda. Why can’t we just look at the positive side of PAS and hope for the better for DAP to work hand-in-hand with PAS leaders in order to get rid of Umnoputras from the mainstream of ruling power and hence enable the elimination of the cunningness and dirtyness of Machiavellianism, which has already adopted by some hawk rightists of Umno as the dominant political ideology of Umno. Why should we have to show unnecessary fear about the theocratic agenda of PAS when the state of no God as existed in the heart of several game players in the present Umno power necleus has indeed posed a much more dangerous and fatal threat to the survival of DAP than anything else?

    Have we thought over this issue in a profound and thorough manner so far: Why must Teoh Beng Hock die in the MACC’s custody? Who will be the next DAP member who is going to die in a similar manner as in the manner which Teoh Beng Hock died? The security threat that has been posed upon the DAP members is real. Why must Lim Guan Eng be summoned to the Selangor Police Headquarter in order for the Police Investigation Officer to interrogate him and to compel him to make a cautioned statement? What will happen to Lim Guan Eng at a later stage when he refused to attend personally to the Selangor Police Headquarter for the purpose of being interrogated by the police? Will the Selangor Police charge Lim Guan Eng in court for obstructing the Police work since Lim Guan Eng refused to appear in the Selangor Police Headquarter? Will Lim Guan Eng be prosecuted and then be sent to jail upon conviction by court in order to disqualify Lim Guan Eng from continuing holding the post of the Penang Chief Minister? Will a theocractic agenda as proposed by PAS pose such an immediate threat to the personal safety and freedom of movement of Lim Guan Eng if the theocratic agenda is not suggesting that Lim Guan Eng will be sent to jail as something which is always intended by the Umnoputras?

    So, Jeffrey, what is so wrong about the theocratic agenda of PAS when this agenda only reflects the ultimate objective of an Islamic ideal, which may not be viable when PAS by itself is very unlikely to command two thirds majority of the members of Parliament?

  37. #37 by Jeffrey on Monday, 8 February 2010 - 4:29 am

    Onlooker Politics,

    The argument of which is better or least threatening – BN’s regime under which TBH died whilst in MACC’s custody or PAS’s theocratic ideal – is a fallacious argument based on a false choice. These two undesirable options presented as a choice or dilemma of either one or the other is unnecessary and each on its own unacceptable.

    On the other argument that the theocratic state is merely PAS’s Islamic ideal, which may not be viable when PAS by itself is very unlikely to command two thirds majority of the members of Parliament (if PR comes to power), such an argument assumes (if PR comes to power) that people in PKR (and UMNO in the opposition) will not support PAS’s when it then initiates implementation of yet more programmes to islamize government/adminitration according to its unswerving theocratic ambition. I call this the “lack of 2/3 majority argument.”

    This “lack of 2/3 majority argument” is an assumption that may not hold true because political alignment PAS, PKR and UMNO is porous and can realign, come a major issue like Islam to which all Malays’ cultural identity is inextricably bound…

    Take for example Zulkifli Nordin who though a PKR member and part of PR team openly breaks rank on the Allah controversy. One does not know how many within PKR – now latent – would follow suit in safer environs when PR has won federal power. The “secular” Constitution upholding Islam as official religion as been interpreted by some as suggesting primacy of religion conducing the country to be an Islamic state ala PAS’s version. Already Kulim Bandar Baru PKR MP Zulkifli Noordin is trying even at this juncture to amend several articles in the Federal Constitution to entrench its paramount Islamic status to overcome ambiguity generated by the dual hybrid-system to enable others to claim the character of the constitution as seculars. One does not know how many others within PKR [for example (Bayan Baru MP) Zahrain or NGOs outside may support at the right time when PR is in power especially when PAS leader is at the helm, a prospect not impossible considering that even Zaid Ibrahim has mooted Nik Aziz as possible alternative to take the place of Anwar if the latter were imprisoned. Has Nik Aziz himself not back tracked to say that PAS would hold “religious talk” with UMNO? Though religious talk does not tantamount to unity government talk with UMNO, thats only because UMNO is not perceived to be willing – yet – to give up up its patronage ways to be in alignment with PAS’s vision at this juncture. However who can be sure that many within UMNO would not ‘jump’ if they were in opposition without power when PAS as part of Pakatan wins federal power? Whither the the “lack of 2/3 majority argument” stand in these scenario?

    There is also a sympathetic bureaucracy in waiting, the case in point is no where better demonstrated in the fire-and-brimstone Jakim forum in which 800 civil servants stood for the very opposite of their boss’s 1Malaysia when it comes to a religious issue like use of Allah word. How many else in support that have not shown their faces?

    The existing Islamic infrastructure facilitates the transition for examples: extensive syariah enactments in most states (excluding east Malaysian/FTs) are already in place but not actively enforced as circumstances are presently not apposite.

    I am not saying for one moment that PAS’s version of theocratic state will deny at the beginning non malay/muslim’s right. It will however affect many modern Malay mulsims’ liberties. I also take the same position as DAP that PAS’s theocratic state is unsuitable for a plural society like ours within a Global context of Information technology, modernism requiring our human capital to be competitive than overly religious for economic propseprity if not survival.

  38. #38 by wanderer on Monday, 8 February 2010 - 8:02 am



  39. #39 by Onlooker Politics on Monday, 8 February 2010 - 1:16 pm

    //I also take the same position as DAP that PAS’s theocratic state is unsuitable for a plural society like ours within a Global context of Information technology, modernism requiring our human capital to be competitive than overly religious for economic prosperity if not survival.// (Jeffrey)

    Basically, you and I are agreeable upon the assumptions that both theocratic state as preached by PAS and the state of no God as demonstrated by UMNO leaders’ using foul methods like racist incitement of racial riot to grab political power are equally “unsuitable for a plural society like ours within a Global context” of globalisation. However, you may not see eye to eye with me on my opinion that PAS’s theocratic state may be a lesser dangerous proposition than UMNO’s tyrannic rule. I can live happily with your dissenting or dissident opinion as well as your concurring opinion. Anyway, this is just a matter of opinion. We will never know who is right and who is wrong until Pakatan Rakyat can really take over the Federal Ruling Power from Barisan Nasional.

    However, I am of the opinion that competitiveness of human capital and the degree of religiosity of the population are not two mutually exclusive things. A religious man can be a competitive man. A less religious man can also be competitive if he believes in the universal value system of meritocracy. Only the man who is lazy and is too rigid in his stereotyped mindset of being complacent about his racial supremacy without having the strong will to improve his personal capability and know-how will remain as a underachiever in the global competitive environment.

  40. #40 by Jeffrey on Monday, 8 February 2010 - 4:21 pm

    To Onlooker Politics,

    Thanks for comments #39. I know where are the grounds of disagreement and agreement and agree with your summation that “its just a matter of opinion. We will never know who is right and who is wrong until Pakatan Rakyat can really take over the Federal Ruling Power from Barisan Nasional.” Thats why we have healthy debate here. Being minority opinion in this blog on the issue of Pas’ theocracy, I am motivated by 2 concerns (1)
    my genuine feeling that Islamic theocracy will not help the nation in prosperity or civil liberty. Its not a construct of my mind but the observation of the status and progress of large swathes of Islamic countries elsewhere in Middle East & Africa structured upon theocracy, which I don’t see how our Country would fare beter if we become one; (2) the danger of many people inclining to reject – and understate – the longer term threat of such theocracy in fear of losing hope on an immediate imperative of jettisoning BN that requires PAS’s cooperation and collaboration that precisely afford it the leverage to manipulate the situation to its advantage. The assumption is the realistic one that PAS will, in spite of temporary compromises, never forsake its ultimate goal to establish Almighty’s state on earth.

  41. #41 by tenaciousB on Tuesday, 9 February 2010 - 1:54 pm

    ” UMNO, in power since Malaysia gained independence in 1957, has reacted badly to its setback. Faced with the possibility of defeat at the next elections, due in 2013, the party has concentrated on sabotaging the resurgent opposition rather than reforming itself ”

    So bloody true, good point Barry !

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