I wasn’t surprised to read Malaysiakini news item Ustaz puts BN campaign in tatters which incidentally carried an amazing time chop of 3:33 a.m. – wow!
Has Ustaz Ramlang Porigi's verdict on Saiful Bukhari Azlan’s oath of being (allegedly) sodomized by Anwar Ibrahim, discredited the allegation against the PKR de facto leader?
It depends! But you may ask, on what?
Well, on 'perception' because politics, especially the variety given out freely during an election campaign, have always been about voters’ perception.
As I posted in Problems for Anwar Ibrahim in Permatang Pauh? Anwar Ibrahim was experiencing enormous problem in the voters’ perception of his ‘character’ because of the damning Saiful's oath, more so when he (Anwar) refuses steadfastly to take up Saiful's challenge to swear he didn't sodomize his former aide.
I was of course referring to the perception of the Malay voters in Permatang Pauh, and as PAS central committee member Dr Mujahid Yusof commented on the damaging Saiful’s oath: “We’re still not sure of the impact. Morality is a serious thing to the Malays and Saiful did swear on the Quran and he did it in a mosque.”
In an attempt to neutralise Saiful's megaton WMD, PKR shipped in truckloads of Islamic ulamas to explain to the masses in Permatang Pauh why Muslims shouldn’t be swearing to Allah (swt) on such an issue.
But obviously they weren’t effective or convincing because they were political allies of Anwar. Then, worse, I heard from a sweetie that Pak Haji Hadi Awang didn’t perform to the whole nine yards in his supposed defence of Anwar Ibrahim in this respect.
Now, do I or should we care whether a potential PM of Malaysia is a gay? No, not at all, provided his sexual proclivities (whatever those have been and may be) are always consensual between two adults.
Thus, as an example, I would accept Chua Soi Lek as the PM of Malaysia though - wakakaka - this is as likely as George Bush embracing Islam or chickenhawk but ultra-bellicose Dick Cheney (who took 5 deferments to avoid going to the Vietnam war) taking up arms himself to fight in Afghanistan.
So, the issue of consensual sodomy is not and shouldn’t be a consideration for the PM-ship, as my favorite Malaysiakini columnist Dean Johns had been at pains to assert. I agree conpletely with Dean.
The consideration should be foremost about integrity, competency and fairness.
Anyway, back to Ustaz Ramlang Porigi who, not unlike Balasubarmaniam, raises questions about his impartiality when he announced his verdict on the credibility of Saiful’s oath in a PKR press conference at Yayasan Aman, the PKR headquarters in Permatang Pauh.
Yes, Azmin Ali and the ustaz both denied this and that, but would I believe in their protestations? ;-)
Now, what did the ustaz say that Malaysiakini saw fit to headline it as such that his words have shattered the thrust of the BN campaign, based no doubt on Saiful’s damning oath about Anwar Ibrahim?
I’ll attempt to list them down as Malaysiakini had reported them, as follows, together with my comments.
(a) The ustaz said he ‘had been instructed’ to witness Saiful's swearing show.
Malaysiakini journalist Chan Kok Leong wrote that in that announcement the ustaz “stunned everyone”.
Why should it, that is, stun everyone?
A bloke fronted up at a mosque wishing to take a holy oath in front of a cleric. The man in charge of the mosque instructed a minor functionary in the mosque to attend to the bloke. Everything was normal.
Indeed if anything, it did show that there was no clerical heavy metal organizing the oath taking.
(b) During the swearing, Saiful mispronounced one of the Islamic words because he had it written down in Malay instead of Arabic.
Now, I would be hilarious over this point if I can be sure I won’t offend my Muslim friends. But I need to ask: would Allah (swt) have cared one iota if one of his creations had mispronounced an Arabic word in a supposedly serious undertaking, a sumpah laknat (swearing in the face of divine retribution)?
This is precisely the sort of irrelevant hair-splitting arguments which ignored the solemn religious nature of the oath-taking that trivializes the majesty of Islam – and, alas, it’s by a cleric.
(c) Ramlang also revealed a Freudian slip by Saiful. He said: "Saiful also made a mistake on when Anwar Ibrahim had allegedly inserted his penis into his rectum. Instead of June 26, Saiful said he was sodomised on Aug 26 before correcting himself."
So what’s the big deal? A bloke made a mistake, perhaps under stress or just a slip, but should one straightaway say he was lying?
In fact, if one reads documentaries about police interrogation, one learns that a witness or accused who consistently doesn’t make any slipups in several interrogations is to be more suspected because that's not normal in a human being, and is more probable that the person has prepared (or being coached) to memorize the sequence of events associated with the case.
By the way, the use of the term ‘Freudian slip’ by Malaysiakini journalist Chan is incorrect in this context.
If Saiful had said (hypothetically of course, just to illustrate the use of the term ‘Freudian slip’): “I inserted his … bukan bukan ... he inserted his …” – now that would be a ‘Freudian slip’ as to the consensual nature of the liaison.
Ramlang admitted he wasn’t the Imam Besar of the mosque or an ulama, yet he raised an issue of a mispronounced Arabic word, which we note that even the PAS ulamas didn’t raise ..... which has been why I reckon the ustaz has trivialized an oath taking.
Note also that Malaysiakini in PKR denies bribing Ramlang reported Azmin “… rejected the argument that the latest development nullified Saiful's swearing.”
In other words, according to Azmin (presumably also fearful of Allah swt), Saiful's oath is not nullified, but Ramlang might have contributed enough, hopefully to ‘change the perception’ of the voters in the heartland that PAS central committee member Dr Mujahid Yusof had earlier expressed his concerns about.
At the PKR press conference, Ustaz Ramlang believed that Saiful’s oath taking was politically motivated because it was done on the eve of nomination day. Then he asserted he was not representing any political party by making his revelations.
And we are informed by Malaysiakini that Ramlang has started appearing in PKR ceramahs in Permatang Pauh today, revealing his role and his view on Saiful's swearing.
;-) So he is not representing any political party eh ... wakakaka.
If I may be allowed to paraphrase Anwar Ibrahim’s favourite author: "The man doth protest too much, methinks."