Malaysia to tighten security ahead of Anwar’s trial

By Wong Choon Mei, Suara Keadilan


Malaysia is expected to tighten security around its capital city as supporters of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim rally behind him ahead of his sodomy trial which may begin on Wednesday if the court refuses to strike out his case.

Police are keeping their cards close to their chest, but water canons and battalions of light strike force are expected to be deployed.

Already Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein has warned of harsh reaction against any protests.

“If they create chaos and go against the law to disrupt security and the judiciary, the authorities will certainly react,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Sham trial

Nevertheless, thousands are expected to gather to protest what has been widely perceived as sham trial, much like the one the Myanmar junta pressed against democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyii recently.

Despite the evidence of two hospital reports – one of which was from the government-run Hospital Kuala Lumpur – that concluded the complainant Saiful Bukhari Azlan had not been sodomised, Prime Minister Najib Razak is determined to proceed with the case.

Unable to contain the swell of popular support for the charismatic reform icon, Najib knows he has to lock Anwar away if he is to survive politically.

“This shows the mala fide or bad faith of the Najib administration. Even though it is clear there is no case, yet he is insisting on attacking Anwar, not just to shame him but to physically put him away,” PKR strategic affairs director Tian Chua told Suara Keadilan.

Anwar’s PKR party is organising a march to the court complex in Jalan Duta. The protesters will be clad in black to signify the death of democracy and justice in the country. As many as 5,000 Malaysians are expected to participate.

Said PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Akin: “This trial is a repeat of the 1998 farce. Those who had persecuted Anwar then are still in power and they want him out. They are afraid if Anwar were to come to power, they will be punished.”

This is what Malaysia has become

Indeed, the key faces in the 1998 sodomy trial are not only still around but many have been promoted to exalted positions.

For example, the infamous judicial commissioner Augustine Paul is now a Federal Court judge, deputy public prosecutor Gani Patail is now the Attorney-General and investigating officer Musa Hassan the Inspector-General of Police.

For these reasons, few Malaysians are expecting anything but the worst for Anwar when his trial begins. They expect the political persecution to continue.

Already, Najib has fired the first salvo, with the government refusing to provide Anwar’s lawyers with key documents needed to prepare his defence.

A DNA Bill was also specially rushed through Parliament last month which the opposition leader fully expects will be used to compel him to give DNA samples.

Given the absence of any physical evidence from the two hospital reports, his lawyers expect the prosecution to raise manipulated DNA samples as it did in 1998 to buoy its case.

Victim of a cruel crime

Burnt into Malaysians’ memories is also the recent string of controversial court rulings over the Perak crisis, where Najib had launched an unpopular coup d’etat against Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat state government.

The legal fraternity has minced no words about its fears that Najib compromised and pressured the courts into decisions that supported his political agenda in Perak.

So too Malaysian believe the PM will now similarly use his influence against Anwar in this sodomy trial.

But like Aung San Suu Kyii, Malayisa’s reform icon can take comfort that in the eyes of the world, he is not guilty but is instead a victim of a cruel crime perpetrated by the Umno-BN government.

The U.S. State Department has again gone on record, saying that they believe the current sodomy charge against Anwar was fabricated just like in 1998. And the motive the same – to destroy his political credibility.

In 2004, the Umno-BN government’s first sodomy case against Anwar was overturned and he was acquitted after spending six years in jail.

Anwar himself is expecting little better this time around. If found guilty, he can be jailed up to a maximum 20 years.

“Must I be angry? No, I will go through the process. They alleged me with man, woman, and they haven’t gone to cows yet, so I’m still OK,” said a bitter-sweet Anwar.

“We have all the medical records, the private doctors, the government doctors. Absolutely, there’s no possibility of a penetration. Then how do you explain sodomy happening without penetration?

“I don’t think they can fool the Malaysian or international community by fabrication.We will fight at this case. Clearly this is a malicious prosecution or persecution.”