The Sodomy Conspirators: Hoisted with their own petard
By Kenny Gan
1998 was tumultuous year in Malaysian politics.
In that year, Mahathir Mohamad sacked Anwar Ibrahim as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister and dragged him to court on abuse-of-power and sodomy charges which many believe to this day to be politically motivated and his conviction to be politically influenced.
The entire mass media under the government’s control was harnessed to demonize Anwar and destroy him politically.
Despite this, a yawning chasm existed between what the government wanted the public to believe and what they actually believed.
The result was a social and political crisis that rocked the nation, split the Malays and galvanized many politically apathetic people to take an active interest in politics to try to effect a change for a better government that does not abuse all the institutions of democracy to achieve its ends.
The resulting political fallout saw PAS gaining at the expense of Umno in the 1999 general election and the creation of a new political party rooted in social justice, the effects of which still resonate today.
Indeed, the accelerated growth of PAS from a rural Malay party to a national party and the rise of PKR can be traced back to the Malay community’s repugnance at Mahathir’s cruel treatment of Anwar more than ten years ago.
History Repeats Itself
It is said that those who fail to learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.
Eleven years later, the nation is set to witness a repeat of the gut-wrenching melodrama and tragi-comedy of yet another Anwar sodomy trial, which again is set to shake the nation and drag public confidence in our enforcement institutions to new lows.
But the stakes are higher now as Anwar has become Opposition Leader and one who carries the hopes of millions of Malaysians for a new and better Malaysia.
The political-social environment has also changed significantly with the dissipation of Mahathir’s climate of fear and the pervasiveness of the Internet loosening the government’s stranglehold on information.
More importantly, the formation of a two party system by the enlarged and united opposition forced the ruling party to be democratically competitive.
In this new environment, it would be political suicide to try a repeat of the previous sodomy caper. However, those who have held the levers of power for too long are sometimes blinded by their arrogance besides overestimating their abilities and under-estimating the public.
The Facts of the Case
Whatever has been revealed in the public domain on sodomy II only serves to give the public the impression that this is nothing more than another politically motivated prosecution.
In the first place, the charge itself does not inspire confidence given that homosexuality is not actively prosecuted in Malaysia although outlawed in the statute books. Nobody has been prosecuted under this archaic law except for Anwar in 1998
The fact that the accuser, Saiful is a known Umno sympathizer does not help matters. His demeanour when he appeared in public smiling and waving to the press is certainly not typical of one who has been forcibly sodomized as he alleged.
Revelations that the he has met with top government officers including Datuk Seri Najib who was DPM at the time (purportedly for career guidance) and a senior police officer at the Concorde Hotel in Shah Alam before he made his accusation public have raised eyebrows and deservedly so.
There are also elements in his story which strains credibility like having been sodomized seven times before he made his poice report, waiting 3 days from the last act to do so and his insistence that he was sodomized against his will by a 61-year old man who is physically no match for him.
But the top was blown off the case by a doctor from Pusrawi Medical Centre from whom Saiful sought a medical examination. This good doctor recorded plainly that the alleged victim had never been sodomized.
Despite this, the Attorney-General saw fit to ram through a charge of consensual sodomy despite the main witness insisting to all and sundry that it had happened against his will.
Sodomy II Goes to Trial
It should be emphasized that the case must be proven beyond reasonable doubt – not in Umno’s court which is already low in public credibility – but in the court of public opinion if the ruling party does not wish to suffer a terrible backlash.
The fact is that real cases of rape or sexual abuse are notoriously difficult to prove, what more a fabricated one.
The public will not be impressed by circumstantial evidence or DNA evidence and the latter would be immediately assumed to be faked given the low credibility of the police and the fact that such chicanery has been attempted before in sodomy I.
Nothing short of a video capturing the act will be convincing enough but if such a video exists, the government would have broadcasted it on all the TV channels, uploaded it online and produced a million CDs for distribution to stop Anwar from making a comeback in Permatang Pauh.
If the prosecution has any real proof, they could have obtained a conviction from any judge – even from the fair-minded Justice Komathy Suppiah in the Sessions Court under which the case was originally heard – instead of fighting tooth and nail to transfer it to the High Court as if their whole case depends on the judge who hears it.
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