Did he or didn’t he?

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Last week, ex-Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he removed Anwar Ibrahim as the Deputy Prime Minister because he does not want someone who is gay to become Malaysia’s Prime Minister.

Now, how does Dr Mahathir know Anwar is gay? On what proof or evidence does he base this assumption?

Malaysia’s Federal Court has acquitted Anwar of the charge of sodomy. Is Dr Mahathir implying that the Federal Court can be manipulated and was bought off? Did Anwar bribe the judges to deliver a verdict favourable to him? Just before the court delivered its verdict, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did announce that he would not interfere with the judicial system and would allow the court to arrive at its own decision.

And the court did.

(And this is more than we can say for Dr Mahathir who called for a press conference before the court verdict to announce his own ‘guilty’ verdict to ensure that the court would have no choice but to concur with him).

No doubt, in delivering its judgment on 2 September 2004, the court did say that the prosecution was not able to prove that Anwar did in fact commit sodomy on his wife’s driver. The court, in the same breath, said that it is convinced Anwar is indeed guilty.

Again, on what evidence does the court base its assumption?

Courts deal with evidence, whether tangible or circumstantial. In any criminal trial, one is considered innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution must prove guilt. The defence need not prove innocence.

However, in Anwar’s two trials, for the first time in Malaysian judicial history, Anwar had to prove his innocence and not the prosecution that had to prove Anwar’s guilt. All the prosecution did was state that there is a probability Anwar could have committed the crime one day within 90 days. Yes, that is right, there is a probability Anwar may have committed the crime of sodomy, one day over 90 days.

In any indictment, time, date and place are crucial to the charge. The charge sheet would state that at a certain time, on a certain day, and at a certain location, you, the one on trial, did commit a crime under section so-and-so of the law. The prosecution would then offer evidence that the crime was committed at that time, date and place as alleged.

In Anwar’s case though, the Attorney-General said that the date has never been a crucial element of the charge “since time immemorial.” Where, in heaven’s name, did the AG study law?

Then, in the absence of either tangible or circumstantial evidence, the testimony of eye-witnesses would instead be required.

In Anwar’s case, there was only one witness to the ‘crime’, which was the ‘victim’ of the alleged crime, Anwar’s wife’s one-time driver.

But when he was cross-examined by the lead defence counsel, Christopher Fernando, the prosecution’s key witness testified that he never made any police report against Anwar, he never told anyone to make any police report on his behalf, and he does not know who made a police report, if any was in fact made in the first place.

Everyone knows that the Malaysian police can only take action against someone based on the police report lodged. How times have we read in the Malaysian mainstream media statements made by the police that they cannot take action against a certain person because no police report has been made, or the police urging so-and-so to make a police report so that they can take action? In Anwar’s case, on what basis was action taken to indict him when it is not known if any police report was made, and in the event one was made, who was it who made the report (because the alleged ‘victim’ certainly did not)?

Then the prosecution’s key witness, the alleged victim of the crime, testified THREE TIMES while under oath that Anwar in fact never committed sodomy on him. The entire case against Anwar rested on the testimony of this one witness. That was the only ‘evidence’ they had against Anwar. And now this witness, the so-called victim, said it never happened. At that point of time, the entire case against Anwar had been totally demolished. But instead of throwing the case out the window and discharging Anwar, the court proceeded with the trial, in spite of the absence of any evidence whatsoever (and in spite of the testimony of the key witness who said the crime never happened) and Anwar was made to prove his innocence.

Then Anwar managed to prove he could not have committed the crime. Anwar offered alibis for the entire 90 days that he PROBABLY committed the crime. Anwar accounted for his whereabouts for the entire period from 1 January to 31 March 1993. He was alleged to have committed the crime at a certain apartment block and he proved he could not have been at that apartment block because he was somewhere else, at times halfway across the world.

And Anwar had evidence to support his alibi. When he was first charged, the police confiscated all his diaries for every year that he was the Deputy Prime Minister. And these diaries accounted for his entire movements and whereabouts. And these diaries proved he was nowhere near the scene of the crime. But the police somehow misplaced his diary for that crucial period, 1993. They did not lose all the diaries for the years prior to and after 1993. Those are all intact. They just lost the one for 1993, the year that the crime was supposed to have been committed.

But Anwar still had his international passport that could prove where he was, especially as far as his overseas trips are concerned. And Anwar tabled a photocopy of his international passport. The original copy of his passport had been confiscated by the police so all he could do was table the photocopy as evidence.

But the court did not want to accept the photocopy. It wanted the original copy that had been confiscated by the police. However, according to the Attorney-General, they had somehow misplaced the original copy of Anwar’s passport and they could not seem to find it.

Nevertheless, though they had misplaced his 1993 diary and the original copy of his passport, Anwar still managed to account for his movements and whereabouts for the entire 90 days from 1 January till 31 March 1993. Anwar had an airtight alibi. But the court still believed that he was guilty in spite of all this and sentenced him to nine years jail.

So, on what basis do Dr Mahathir and the Federal Court (the same one that acquitted him) say they believe Anwar is guilty? If the Federal Court is, as it says, convinced that Anwar is guilty, then why acquit him? If the Federal Court feels Anwar is guilty, then it must only be because it has evidence pointing to this guilt. And if they DO NOT have evidence that can keep Anwar in jail and have to instead acquit him, then how can they say Anwar is guilty? Proof of guilt must be based on evidence. If you have evidence, then keep him in jail. If there is no evidence of guilt to keep him in jail, then how can you say he is guilty?

Anyway, Dr Mahathir said he knows Anwar is guilty because he personally conducted his own investigation and personally interviewed all those involved in the incident. Dr Mahathir added that he does not need any police investigation or court to convince him Anwar is guilty as his own investigation has proven Anwar is guilty. That is how sure Dr Mahathir is of Anwar’s guilt.

But when Dr Mahathir was subpoenaed to court to testify, he refused to go to court. Dr Mahathir had a lot to say about Anwar’s guilt — and still does have a lot to say. Dr Mahathir had his opportunity to say all this under oath in court during a ‘proper’ trial (at least proper as far as the Malaysian judicial system goes). But he refused to do so. Considering that Dr Mahathir had conducted his own investigation, had all the evidence against Anwar, and had personally interviewed all those involved, whatever he would have said in court would have ‘hanged’ Anwar for good.

But Dr Mahathir refused to do so. Why?

I must reiterate that Anwar need not have proven his innocence. The prosecution had to instead prove his guilt. Nevertheless, Anwar managed to prove his innocence through his airtight alibi. And the prosecution NEVER proved that Anwar is guilty. Even the Federal Court said so when it acquitted Anwar. And one is innocent until proven guilty.

Furthermore, the charge against Anwar was defective. They did not know when Anwar was supposed to have committed the crime. So they left the date of the crime vague. The charge itself was null and the court should have discharged Anwar without even the necessity of a trial. In any normal situation, there would have been no trial. The court would have thrown the case out without calling for the defence.

But then Anwar’s case was not normal, so normal court procedures were not observed.

Anwar has only one thing left to do. He needs to sue Dr Mahathir just like he did Khalid Jafri who is now history in the real sense of the word. Failing to do so would start tongues wagging. People would wonder why Anwar is letting Dr Mahathir off the hook. Whether the courts can be manipulated or not is not the issue. That is not for Anwar to worry about. He needs to sink his sword into Dr Mahathir’s black heart and let the rest be damned. That is the only way for Anwar to show Dr Mahathir for what he is, a bare-faced liar.