Sodomy 2, May End Anwar’s Political Career
Anwar Ibrahim, BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT, has been one of the most talked about political figures to have emerged into the Malaysian ‘political theatre’. Ever since his name became household, after being held under ISA for leading UM students in street demonstrations in early 1970s, he never stopped AMUSING Malaysians, in a way or another.
Soon after graduating, he was entrusted to lead Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia(ABIM), then one of the leading ISLAMIC MOVEMENTS in the country. Other contemporary Islamic Movements then were the Darul Arqam, Perkim and PAS. Anwar soon became a leading figure in World Association of Muslim Youth(WAMY), through which he became linked to leading Islamic movements worldwide, including the Mideast-based Muslim Brotherhood and Pakistan-based Jamaati- Islami.
During those years, Anwar were actively advocating the return of Islamic systems in all aspects of life, in what he used to describe as ‘Ad-Din’, a complete way of life. When PAS were at the verge of serious break-up in 1978, Anwar was one of the young leaders being persuaded to join and take over the leadership of PAS. However, Anwar had better plans, at least for himself. When Tun Mahathir became the Prime Minister in early1980s, one of his early moves was to entice Anwar to join UMNO and his Government. Anwar fell to Tun Mahathir ‘s challenge to help him to turn Islamic ‘rethorics’ into Government Islamisation programmes.
It was the start to his meteoric rise in his political carrer. His ‘Islamic image’, including his ability to give the ‘khutbah’ in mosques, and bringing ‘world-class’ religious scholars to bolster the image, has attracted young Muslims, who would normally be more attracted to PAS earlier on. Islamic activists from ABIM, and UK-originated JIM began to ‘migrate’ into UMNO in big numbers. UMNO began to implement ‘Islamisation’ programmes through the Government, including founding the International Islamic University Malaysia(UIAM) and the Islamic Bank.
Anwar’s fenomenal rise was partly attributed to a major in-fighting in UMNO in 1987, which saw Ku Li-led Team B narrowly defeated by Tun Mahathir-led Team A. Notables among Team B then were Tun Musa Hitam and Tun Abdullah Badawi. Anwar was one of the key persons in Tun Mahathir’s winning team, which also included the late Tun Ghafar Baba, Tan Sri Sanusi Junid and the then UMNO Youth Leader, DS Najib Tun Razak. The UMNO in-fighting opened the opportunity for Anwar to end up one of the 3 Vice-Presidents of UMNO, and by 1990, the post of Finance Minister.
This was possibly when Anwar’s personal predicaments began. The post of Finance Minister was then perhaps the most powerful post after the Prime Minister. By dishing out ‘pink forms’ of newly public-listed companies, and Government-related contracts, to divisional-level leaders, besides others, Anwar became extremely popular. By 1993, Anwar found it suitable to mount a challenge for the post of Deputy President of UMNO, then held by late Tun Ghafar, which he won without a fight.
Power and wealth do change certain people, if not all the people. Islamic image which were the ‘trade mark’ of Anwar early years began to disappear. Anwar which used to be compared to Ayatullah Khomeini of Iran, began to be more identified as the ‘darling of the west’. Former British PM Thatcher used to compare Anwar with certain top British-based footballers which were bought by clubs at astronomical prices. A former US Deputy President used to openly support ‘reformasi’ street demonstration during a APEC summit in Malaysia. At a time when Tun Mahathir, was viewed as ‘anti-west’, Anwar was seen busy promoting himself as the ‘Malaysian hope’ of the west and western values.
It was against this background that Anwar was sacked from his post as Deputy PM and Finance minister, co-incidently in the midst of the Asian FINANCIAL CRISIS of 1998 , and charged for corruption and sodomy. The sodomy trial was labelled SODOMY 1. After lengthy trial for both charges, Anwar was found guilty and sentenced to a total of 9 years in jail, which he served 4 years, before being freed following his acquittal from SODOMY 1-related conviction. Despite the judge clearing him of sodomy, he however implied Anwar ‘s homosexual tendencies. Despite the freedom, Anwar’s image as an Islamic leader was seriously tainted.
That did not seem to bother Anwar. In the run-up to the 12th General Election in March 2008, Anwar led the PKR-DAP-PAS coalition in its most PROMISING challenge against the UMNO-led BN. His own PKR is devoid of any Islamic agenda, while another component, PAS, had decided to PUT ASIDE their Islamic State and Hudud objectives. With the anti-Islamic state DAP as the third component, Anwar’s LATER IMAGE seemed to be accepted by DAP, and fit well with PAS with their new slogan “PAS FOR ALL”.
However, many believe, SODOMY 2 trial may signal the beginning of the end of Anwar’s COLOURFUL political career.