Daim vs Anwar is an opportunity

Former financial czar turns first court appearance into high stakes theatre.

Terence Netto, FMT

“A clash of doctrines is not a disaster; it is an opportunity,” said the philosopher-mathematician Alfred North Whitehead.

Former finance minister Daim Zainuddin decided on Monday to turn his much-awaited first court appearance into high stakes theatre by aiming for the jugular of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Daim, in a prepared statement at the end of his arraignment, argued that Anwar’s government is engaging in selective prosecution by indicting him for non-disclosure of assets while causing to free deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi from a host of corruption charges.

By starkly accusing Anwar of selective prosecution – though those were not the words Daim used – and by portraying Anwar as a poseur masquerading as a reformer, Daim has put a blowtorch to the prime minister’s trail.

No weasel words can help Anwar parry the brusqueness of Daim’s comments.

Essentially, Daim is saying that Anwar is living in a glasshouse and trying to throw stones; and that this won’t wash.

Anwar’s position may well be that just because there may be a mote in his eye, it doesn’t mean he cannot point to the speck in Daim’s.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian public can be glad for the opportunity to find out if the French novelist Honore Balzac was right about his observation that “behind every great fortune there lies a crime.”

From the list of 71 properties held by Daim that was revealed in court on Monday, we can see that these holdings constituted “great fortune.”

Whether these were illicitly acquired or not remains to be seen.

Suffice open court disclosure is the first step towards determining criminality.

That is why Whitehead’s opinion that a clash of doctrines is not something that should be avoided simply because it provides the chance for the observing public to figure out how much of the truth one contender has over the other.

Democracy thrives on the determination of such relative positions.

In a sense, Daim’s high stakes theatre in court on Monday with its warning that Anwar’s path is a prelude to tyranny is something the prime minister should keep in mind even as his government supposedly pursues the malefactors of great wealth.

And if such types fight their corner with gusto – as Daim promises he would – there won’t just be great theatre.

There will be the truth that makes all of us free.