Friday, January 20, 2012

Anwar Ibrahim Case: Making An Appeal Unappealing

When the popular movement broke into celebration over the acquittal of Anwar, one can still feel an undercurrent of apprehension in Anwar and the leadership of the opposition, whether the whole thing is over, finally and absolutely. The defense, as well as the opposition, has not quite rested, even with the acquittal.
Almost immediately upon the acquittal, Karpal Singh, lead counsel, called upon the AG not to file an appeal. This was shortly followed by the Bar Council of Malaysia recommending the AG not to file an appeal, a move seen by many as going against the grain of professional ethics or impartiality, indeed against the principle of justice itself.
Right from the beginning the opposition stubbornly clung to the ‘conspiracy theory’, refusing to draw the line between legal and the political. To the opposition, the trial of Anwar is a trial against the opposition. The acquittal was greeted with a triumphant mood signifying a victory for the opposition and a disgrace for UMNO. All indications point this way, the banners, the chanting, the celebrative congratulatory messages among opposition supporters. It was as if the opposition had won the election and UMNO had been vanquished.
The point is the trial was never perceived and projected by the opposition as the trial of an individual, not even as leader of the opposition, but as the trial of the opposition itself. It was consistently billed as ‘ opposition versus state’, only that it was personified as ‘Anwar versus Najib the Prime Minister’.
Immediately after his acquittal, Anwar was interviewed by Al Jazeera outside the court complex, amidst a jubilant crowd of supporters. He was asked if his acquittal had somewhat given a lie to the conspiracy theory, he responded in the negative. After railing against aspects of the trial, he said it is to be seen if the judiciary is really independent, almost as if anticipating an appeal. He was not yet willing to put to rest the charge of conspiracy.  
As the deadline for the AG to file an appeal draws near, Lim Kit Siang called upon the AG not to appeal, in an intonation characteristic of political intimidation. He said an appeal would destroy whatever ‘little faith’ the public has in the independence of the judiciary. Such statement clearly reflects the political framing of the trial beyond the legal.
Hours ago I read the AG has filed an appeal (according to the media). The defense has already responded I think. Sankara Nair is quick to frame the AG's move as 'persecution' rather than 'prosecution' of a political leader.
Clearly, even as the AG contemplates his move whether to appeal, the defense and the opposition had already launched its defense. By all indications we know in which direction this will take.  An appeal had been anticipated right from the point of acquittal and preemptive move had been taken to make it appear unsavory and unappealing to the public. If this is something to go by, clearly the trial is going to be conducted well beyond the court and the legal. Perhaps the opposition will fight it more in the political arena, both local and international, in the street, the media, through the embassies and the foreign press.          

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Anwar Ibrahim vs Saiful: Victor's justice?

We know of the verdict in favour of Anwar Ibrahim. We read how it brought tears of joy to many, to close family members, followers, party supporters, sympathetic members of the public, and those with political interests in the turn of events.
Fanatical supporters danced in the street, like an intoxicated mob (of power), chanted ‘we shall conquer Putrajaya!,’ , ‘ go die UMNO’(mampus UMNO)
Foreign press and media, completely sold and bought into the cliches of the Anwar’s saga, of near template-like motifs of a former Deputy Prime Minister being victimized by the evil machination of a ruling party, bent on clinging to power (dubbed as the theory of conspiracy); the formerly brilliant Minister of Finance, the man who headed the wave of reforms and democracy in Malaysia, once charged and convicted, vindicated by an overturn of conviction by the court (often not mentioning it was on technicality), went to town toasting the ‘justice had been served ‘ theme of a happy ending.
And yet if we look at the whole coverage of ‘the saga’ more objectively, beyond partisanship, we have a sense of gross one -sidedness, a skewed picture of the whole. Perhaps foreign (international?) press coverage of the episode would go into history as one of the major chapters of ideological distortion and falsification ever committed by the press (ironically all in the name of freedom of the press and democracy!)
I give a few illustrations to convey the point. While exaggerating  the heroic picture of an ‘ex DPM and Minister of Finance battling UMNO', it was almost never mentioned that he was DPM and Minister of Finance within the UMNO setup nevertheless, and was very much true to the UMNO ethos then. Anwar is constantly drummed up as the beacon of reforms and democracy, but it is rarely mentioned it was an overnight metamorphosis from ‘UMNO' to 'Reformasi’ for Anwar, immediately after his sacking from UMNO, and at a rather late stage in his life (in terms of ideological evolution)
Saiful must be one of the loneliest human being on earth right now. He started as an underdog in the opening of the case, was an underdog during its course (in the sense all publicity and media coverage were generally devoted to Anwar’s politically charged defense and ‘antics’), and ended up perhaps worse than underdog. After the verdict, abuses and profanities had been hurled at him. The youth leader of PKR demanded Saiful be charged and sentenced under the syariah court for 'slandering' Anwar. Not much international coverage was accorded to Saiful's response to the verdict (have you seen his statement?) He was  only supported by the solitary figure of his devoted father who swore to stand by his son.
 In the meantime the influential Bar Council of Malaysia had issued a statement recommending the Attorney General not to file an appeal against the verdict. Saiful’s father had issued a simple statement that in doing so  the Bar Council is denying Saiful justice and due process of law, perhaps because Saiful is a small man, a non VIPand a non politician of no consequence(have you seen his statement?)
Perhaps this could be a reason why Saiful insisted on seeing PM Najib before deciding to file the case ( the occassion of which was exploited to the hilt by the defense in alleging  the conspiracy theory) Perhaps  the reason too why he hesitated and vacillated before deciding (which worked against him in the DNA evidence due to the time lag). He must have had a daunting sense of taking on a powerful, skillful and shrewd politician. Just a small man looking for support in confronting  an awesome public figure with a powerful political machinery, both local and international.
So what’s next? Had history been finally sealed on this infamous case? Is it just a turn in a yet long winding road, a continuing saga the ending of which is yet to be written (who writes it? Historians, UMNO, Pakatan, the foreign press?) Meanwhile I hear ‘joy flooded the Tweeters’ over the verdict. PAS goes on chanting ‘Putrajaya we shall conquer’. When a TV3 newsreader slipped in referring to 'Anwar'  (instead of Prime Minister Najib) visiting Johannesburg , Anwar was fast to quip in public ‘she knows, except she is mentioning it a bit early…would like to meet her’, greeted by the laughter of an adulating crowd!
Certainly for now everything seems to be going the way of Anwar and his powerful supporters, local and abroad. Saiful and his devoted father would have to endure the rough edges of victor’s justice, for now?


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Anwar Ibrahim verdict: Justice or conspiracy, or both?

Congratulations to Anwar Ibrahim and his defence team.  As we all know the court had returned a 'not guilty' verdict on the case, which must have surprised many, most of all I feel the Pakatan.

The opposition, the Pakatan, had braced itself for a 'guilty' verdict. All the posters reflected that, playing on the main theme of 'reject the lies, slander' and ' resist conspiracy'. Besides the posters, the stancing around 'the number game' (which normally suggests just a show of strength) of mobilising 100,000 for the verdict also indicated gloom anticipating an unfavourable verdict.

The actions of Anwar Ibrahim themselves seemed to expect an unfavourable outcome. His public statements, confined to the antithesis of ' not guilty' and ' conspiracy', placed greater possiblity on the later. There was much talk of 'never fleeing', ' possibility of accident', 'shot',  ' whether I am in or out of prison' and the like.

On the whole, given their determinism of either 'not guilty' or 'conspiracy', how would the Pakatan interprete the 'not guilty' verdict?Will it say that our judiciary is one with integrity? After all Anwar himself had responded with a 'justice had been served' statement. Given the verdict, will the Pakatan now accord a modicum of respect for our judiciary and other vital institutions?

Concerning UMNO, is the Pakatan capable of saying this case shows the inadequacy of the conspiracy theory, or will it simply say with an even greater tenacity that UMNO's idiocy pervades all areas, even that of conspiracy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Dua hari yang lepas, Pakatan mengadakan satu kenyataan media yang amat menyedehkan mereka yang cintakan demokrasi dan keluhuran undang undang negara kita. Kenyataan Azmin Ali, Timbalan Presiden PKR, sebagai jurucakap kumpulan, dengan lantang dan cabul menolak prinsip kebebasan kehakiman , sambil mengugut dan mengancam mahkamah menjalankan tugas tugasnya ‘tanpa takut dan memihak’. Beliau mengugut akan menurunkan 100,000 penyokong Kempen ‘Bebaskan Anwar 901’ pada hari  Isnin ini, yakni hari mahkamah memutuskan kes Anwar Ibrahim.
Dalam video kenyataan media itu, Azmin Ali menegaskan butir butir berikut:
 Pertamanya perbicaraan kes liwat berkenaan didakwa ‘bermotif politik’ yang ‘berniat jahat’ untuk menjatuhkan Anwar Ibrahim. Jelas ini merupakan satu kenyataan yang terlalu umum yang sendiri ‘bermotif politik’ yang mungkin ‘berniat jahat’. Saya kira dalam politik setiap pihak ada kepentingan melihat lawannya jatuh. Dalam pengertian yang seumum ini, setiap gerakan Pakatan untuk menjatuhkan UMNO dan Barisan juga boleh kita anggap ‘bermotif politik’ serta ‘berniat jahat’. Tapi kenyataan umum seumpama ini tidak mempunyai kaitan langsung dengan ‘fakta’ dan ‘ hukum’ dalam kes.
Kedua, Azmin menuduh perbicaraan sebagai rencana kepimpinan UMNO menghalang Anwar Ibrahim menjadi perdana menteri. Bersabit ini semua orang yang berlaku adil dan bersikap terbuka tahu ini merupakan satu dakwaan yang kurang matang. Mereka tahu perjalanan undang undang atau ‘ due process of law’ itu ada prinsip prinsip, prosedur, dan kesatuannya tersendiri. Ianya bukan dapat diatur dengan sewenang wenang mengikut ‘rencana’ mana mana parti, baik UMNO atau Pakatan sekali pun. Justeru kenyataan  umum sedemikian itu yang sebenarnya ‘bermotif politik’ dengan niat  yang agak menyangsikan. Cuma sekadar menyauk dan memalit pihak pihak lain dengan kes untuk tujuan politik.
Ketiga, Azmin Ali memberi 'amaran keras'  sekiranya ada ‘konspirasi’ memenjara Anwar Ibrahim pada hari Isnin ini, mereka akan bangkit merobohkan tembuk kezaliman UMNO. Wow! Jelas sekali disini terdapat ‘motif politik’ dengan ‘niat jahat’. Mengikut pilihan dan susunan kata kata, sekiranya mahkamah mendapati Anwar bersalah, keputusan itu sudah sediakala dicap ‘konspirasi’ yang didalangi UMNO! 

Mengikut kenyataan, Kempen 901 akan menolak keputusan Anwar bersalah, dan menerima hanya keputusan Anwar tidak bersalah. Maknanya hakim sudah sediakala dituntun,digiring, diugut dan diberi ‘amaran keras’ kearah sesuatu keputusan yang dituntut.
Keempat, Azmin, mewakili Pakatan,  ‘melantik’ dan ‘ mengisytiharkan’ Anwar Ibrahim sebagai perdana menteri yang ke 7. Ini agak janggal, memandangkan keadaan dan konteks kenyataan media. Adakah terserah kepada Pakatan untuk melantik perdana menteri dan bukan pengundi? Tambahan, apa kena mengena dengan pengadilan mahkamah kelak? Kenyataan ini dapat kita fahami hanya dengan membaca ‘motif politik’ dan ‘ niat’ yang mencurigakan.

 Mungkin PKR kini sedang cuba menerapkan prinsip prinsip shi'ah ke politik Malaysia, di mana kumpulan menentukan imamnya sendiri dan bermati matian mempertahankannya? Lebih lebih lagi memandangkan akhir akhir ini banyak gelaran yang telah dikurniakan kepada Anwar, termasuk 'imam besar silat gayung'  dan 'Imam Mahdi'? (yang amat berpengaruh dalam kepercayaan shi'ah)Secara ini  orang ramai dikondisi berfikir yang 'dizalimi' mahkamah kelak adalah 'perdana menteri ke 7', mengikut 'rencana UMNO' dan 'perdana menteri yang bertahan'. 
Pada keseluruhanya kenyataan Pakatan yang disampaikan Azmin Ali menerusi video yang tersebar luas itu tidak dapat menaikkan martabat dan perwajahan Pakatan dan Kempen 901. Niat politiknya amat menonjol dan mungkin mengaibkan. Kenyataan media ini bukan sahaja melanggar undang undang tetapi juga kesusilaan kita, sediakala menghukum hakim (sebelum hari keputusan lagi), menyeranah, mentohmah mahkamah , sambil mengugut menurunkan 100,000 penyokong buat mencabar prinsip keluhuran undang undang.
Dalam keseluruhan kenyataannya, Azmin Ali tepat hanya dalam satu hal, yakni keputusan mahkamah tidak hanya menyentuh ‘batang tubuh Anwar’ tetapi melibatkan orang ramai. Kami setuju walaupun kes ini melibatkan ‘batang tubuh’ Anwar, ia jauh lebih dari itu! 

 Dr Rani sebagai wakil Pas mengingatkan semua penyokong PAS, PKR dan DAP jangan membawa 'senjata tajam'. Mungkin 'senjata tumpul' boleh dibawa?   

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Demonstrasi UPSI: Mahasiswa bebas atau terbabas?

Pada fajar tahun baru 2012, segerombolan mahasiswa mahasiswi berusaha ‘menaklok’ UPSI dengan kekerasan. Saya katakan dengan ‘kekerasan’kerana terdapat unsur unsur paksaan, desakan, tuntutan, kedegilan, yang kesemuanya menunjukan gejala gejala mengganas dan rusuhan. Apatah lagi dengan bibit bibit terpekik, terlolong,mendabik dada, menguji ketabahan pihak polis.
Kesemuanya sejajar dengan gaya ‘politik baru’ yang dicorak oleh pihak pembangkang. Sesunggohnya kebuasan yang merasuk sekumpulan mahasiswa mahasiswi di kampus kampus akhir akhir ini mencerminkan ‘angin perubahan’ dengan ‘trademark’ berikut: tuntutan, desakan, jalanan, tentangan,hasutan, tanpa arah dan persoalan pokok yang jelas dan rasional. Yang penting bukan persoalan, tetapi tangkal ‘lawan tetap lawan’. Persoalan tak penting, asalkan menimbulkan ketegangan dan keghairahan menggila.
Sebenarnya apakan ‘kebebasan akademik’? Kebebasan yang dimaksudkan adalah kebebasan mengasah otak, belajar, meluaskan ufuk pemikiran dan wawasan, tanpa berperangsaka, tanpa di pengaruhi politik memihak dan berkepentingan mana mana pihak. Idealismenya itu ialah melengkapkan diri untuk memberi kepimpinan kepada masyarakat kelak. Ditinjau dari segi ini, tidak mengira batasan AUKU, mahasiswa mahasiswi maseh banyak ruang untuk mendidik dan meluaskan ufuk idea idea mereka.
 Selalunya mahasiswa mahasiswi jalanan, tiduran (atas jalan), pekikan, lebih mempertikaikan batasan atau sempadan, tapi selalunya tidak sepenuhnya, malah sedikit pun, mengguna ruang yang maseh diberi. Sebenarnya undang undang dan akta akta berkenaan adalah bertujuan menjamin kebebasan akademik sebenarnya, yang justeru perlu ditentukan batasan dan sempadannya. Mahasiswa jalanan dapat diibaratkan pemain bola sepak yang tidak bermain dipadang tetapi menghabiskan masa dan tenaga membantah sempadan padang dan peraturan permainan. Yang lucu mereka menumpukan masa dan tenaga menuntut dimansuhkan peraturan permainan, agar mereka ‘bebas’ bermain!
Dinilai dari segi ‘kebebasan akademik’ tulen, mahasiswa mahasiswi jalanan ini  sudah jauh terpesong dan songsang. Kalau kita amati tindak tanduk dan perilaku mereka, kita lihat ciri ciri berikut: a)mereka mengaku sohor, tetapi sebenarnya tohor, b) konon mahu ‘membebas’ tetapi mereka sendiri terbabas dari landasan kebebasan akademik, c) menganggap diri ‘bebas’ tetapi sebenarnya kebas minda dan jiwa, dibelenggui, ditandu pihak pihak berkepentingan, d) mahu memupuk mahasiswa mahasiswi jalanan yang ‘bebas’, umpama lalang yang patut ditebas demi keutuhan kampus dan kebebasannya.
Saya harap 'mahasiswa bebas' memandu 'mahasiswa terbabas' ini pulang ke pangkal jalan!