Anwar tidak dipercayai lagi?
The acquittal of the opposition leader spices up the next election
Jan 14th 2012 | KUALA LUMPUR |
AFTER more than two years of legal wrangling, sordid media revelations and political point-scoring, on January 9th the High Court in Malaysia’s capital finally handed down a verdict in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case—not guilty. Homosexuality is illegal in Muslim-majority Malaysia, and if found guilty the former deputy prime minister and current leader of the opposition could have been jailed for up to 20 years. Now, however, Mr Anwar’s vindication allows him to throw his energies into fighting the government in a general election expected later this year.
The case began in 2008 when a male aide reported to the police that Mr Anwar had sodomised him. Mr Anwar, however, maintains that the whole trial was a put-up job by a nervous government, desperate to discredit him after he came close to winning a general election earlier that year. The whole affair seemed an unlikely rerun of similar charges brought against Mr Anwar when he was ousted from his post as deputy prime minister in 1998—hence the moniker of Sodomy 2.0 for this case. Indeed, Mr Anwar claims that all the legal suits over the past 14 years add up to a sustained vendetta against him by the ruling party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which has ruled the country continuously since independence from Britain in 1957. Once the golden boy of UMNO, Mr Anwar claims the feud started after he fell out with the autocratic and long-serving prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad. He has been demonised by his former colleagues ever since.
After the first accusations in 1998, Mr Anwar spent six years in prison for corruption and sodomy before being cleared of the second charge by the country’s supreme court and released in 2004. This time the judge ruled that the prosecution case against Mr Anwar was too flimsy for a conviction; the DNA evidence, in particular, was ruled unreliable.
If the two sodomy charges really were invented by some in UMNO bent on wrecking Mr Anwar’s career, then the strategy has backfired. The first case in 1998 rallied huge public sympathy for Mr Anwar. With Sodomy 2.0 he has been publicly vindicated, despite a widespread belief that he was going to be convicted. Indeed, the government swiftly attempted to exploit this by claiming that the verdict showed “the government does not hold sway over judges’ decisions”, framing this as part of its vaunted reform programme. The independence and quality of the judiciary has improved a little since the days of Dr Mahathir, but many in Malaysia remain cynical and conspiracy theories abound.
How will the verdict affect Malaysia’s politics? In the short term Mr Anwar’s victory will give a much-needed boost to the coalition of opposition parties that he leads. So much so, in fact, that the cautious prime minister, Najib Razak, might even postpone going to the polls.
In the longer term, however, things are less clear-cut. Although Mr Anwar remains a charismatic figure and a forceful speaker, his reputation has been tarnished. That won’t matter to his acolytes, but at 64 he also seems a distant and untrustworthy figure to many younger Malaysians. He has failed to nurture a new generation of opposition leaders. Rather than turning his party into a vibrant, modernising force in politics he has allowed it to become something of a family-run affair, riven by infighting.
In prison, some political operators say, he could have served as a useful martyr figure to rally the opposition. Now, they are stuck with him indefinitely as a leader. Mr Anwar may still be popular enough to land a few blows on the government. But he may also be too weakened to deliver the knockout punch.
Anwar tidak boleh dipercayai
Oleh MOHD. ASRON MUSTAPHA
Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yang baru dibebaskan daripada tuduhan meliwat bekas pembantu peribadinya dianggap sebagai pemimpin yang tidak boleh dipercayai walaupun beliau terselamat daripada hukuman penjara.
Menariknya, label itu diberikan majalah antarabangsa, The Economist dan bukan datang daripada pemimpin UMNO mahu pun Barisan Nasional (BN) yang selama ini sering dituduh sebagai pihak yang berkonspirasi ke atas pertuduhan liwat tersebut.
Menurut The Economist, walaupun Anwar seorang pemimpin yang berkarisma dan memiliki kehebatan sebagai pemidato, tetapi imej serta reputasinya sebagai ketua pembangkang tercemar khususnya dalam kalangan generasi muda di negara ini.
“Bagaimana keputusan (mahkamah) itu akan memberi kesan kepada politik Malaysia? Dalam jangka pendek, kemenangan (pembebasan) Anwar sudah tentu memberi rangsangan sangat diperlukan kepada pakatan pembangkang yang diketuainya.
“Namun, untuk jangka masa panjang belum jelas. Reputasinya tercemar dan beliau seorang pemimpin yang tidak boleh dipercayai khususnya bagi generasi muda Malaysia,” kata majalah tersebut sebagaimana dipetik dari laman webnya, http://www.economist.com hari ini.
Isnin lalu, Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur melepas dan membebaskan Anwar selepas Hakim Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd. Diah mendapati tiada bukti kukuh bagi menyokong keterangan Mohd. Saiful Bukhari Azlan selain tidak selamat untuk bergantung kepada bukti asid deoksiribonukleik (DNA).
Pembebasan itu disambut baik oleh beberapa pihak yang cenderung menyokong kebebasan hak kumpulan lesbian, gay, biseksual dan transeksual (LGBT) termasuk sebuah pertubuhan homoseksual dari Filipina, Organisasi Progresif Gay Filipina (ProGay).
Malah, Anwar sendiri tidak terkecuali bercakap mengenai homoseksual apabila mempertikai undang-undang berkaitan perkara itu di Malaysia yang disifatkannya sebagai sudah lapuk dan tidak relevan ketika menjawab soalan wartawan agensi berita antarabangsa, BBC.
Dalam pada itu, The Economist menambah, ketua pembangkang itu juga gagal membawa pemodenan dalam politik apabila PKR yang diterajuinya dipenuhi ahli keluarga sendiri selain pelbagai masalah dalaman meskipun beliau sering kali melaungkan reformasi.
“Pembangkang di Malaysia kini terperangkap dengan (moral) Anwar sebagai pemimpin (selepas dibebaskan mahkamah). Anwar mungkin masih popular bagi sesetengah pihak, tetapi dia juga kini terlalu lemah untuk menumbangkan BN,” dakwa majalah itu lagi.