Looks like poor Anwar Ibrahim is in a second situation where he’s caught between Syaitan and the deep coloured sea, which in Anwar’s case, has turned from blue to green and now to …? Maybe it’s only natural for Malaysia’s political chameleon.
What had happened started with Anwar’s lawyer asking the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to recommend a royal pardon for Anwar Ibrahim for his corruption charge.
Recall (as if we couldn’t) - Anwar was convicted some years ago for corruption and sodomy leading to his tumble from the pinnacle of Malaysian political power. Though his sodomy conviction was overturned in 2004 due to lack of evidence, the corruption conviction stuck, resulting in a five-year ban from active politics, which only expires in April 2008.
Malaysian political observers believed that the ruling party (effectively UMNO and bugger the rest) will call for an election prior to April 2008 to deliberately keep him out of the process – unless a cosy deal has been or would be struck between Anwar and you-know-who.
About three weeks ago I blogged on Anwar Ibrahim + KJ versus Najib, where I pondered over political analysts’ query on Anwar singling out DPM Najib for criticism, but not AAB or KJ. They believed that Anwar’s selective GPS-enabled targeting might have been an outcome of a sweetheart deal between him and KJ to oust the deputy premier.
Since then, I have had second thoughts; I am more inclined to believe that that sole targeting of Najib could be a unilateral decision – you work out what I mean.
This seems more plausible! Yes, why would someone who (thinks he) holds all the cards bother about co-opting a has-been, or more precisely, an UMNO has-been because outside of UMNO Anwar is still a force to be reckoned with, provided he puts his heart into his claim of being an opposition politician.
Anyway, the IPU has refused to intervene on behalf of Anwar for a royal pardon because that would be procedurally incorrect. The IPU said Anwar has to submit the pardon appeal himself, before the IPU can even lend their moral support.
Additionally, the IPU stated that only a prisoner or a member of his family may petition the king for a pardon, therefore the petition by Anwar’s supporters in May 2005 does not count.
This has put Anwar in a dilemma because by appealing for a pardon, he would be contradicting his declaration of innocence, and probably jeopardising his high profile defamation lawsuit against Dr Mahathir for alleged libellous statements.
Alas, as Anwar has claimed to have a love for Shakespeare, which he averred was one of the two books that sustained him in prison [see my posting Anwar Ibrahim sustained in prison by Quran & Shakespeare] maybe it’s time to paraphrase the Prince of Denmark - don't forget too he mentioned Hamlet as full of political meaning:
To appeal or not to appeal, that is the question—
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them.
The IPU, aware of Anwar’s legal quandary, still recommended that Anwar seek to be pardoned despite any reservation about the legal or moral implications.
It said: “[IPU] notes that there is nothing to prompt it to change its conviction that Mr Ibrahim’s trials and conviction were based on a presumption of guilt, and that he should therefore be granted a pardon so as to enable him once again to fully participate in the political life of his country.”
Poor Anwar, as bloggers would paraphrase Marcellus in Hamlet: “Something is rotten in the state of Malaysia”.
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