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Monday, January 9, 2012

Anwar aquitted: Magnificent show of support stumps police, Najib

Sulaiman Kamal | 11:19 AM | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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In a shock decision, the Najib administration threw in the towel to overwhelming public support for Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim. The courts, which are under the thumb of Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno party have acquitted Anwar of sodomy charges. This is in line with prolonged calls from the international diplomatic and business communities as well everyday Malaysians, who are fed up of the brand of manipulative politics pushed by Umno, beginning during the time of former premier Mahathir Mohamad.
"It is thanks to all the brave Malaysians for standing up to be counted this morning. This is not just about Anwar although he is the main figure. But we all know that enough is enough, the rot has gone on for too long. Things are out of control and the people can sense it. Only they can save Malaysia and this morning is the first step," PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.

"In the end, Najib and Umno realized how silly their strategy has been and how Mahathir nearly led them to ruin once again. All they have done is to create the greatest publicity for Anwar. It also shows how popular Anwar and Pakatan are. All this talk of Anwar being a spent force and the Pakatan a loose coalition has been proven to be untrue. It is clear from the way the police reacted, and even Najib and the BN leaders issuing threat after threat, how afraid they are of him and Pakatan. This morning's turnout proves it, the support was fantastic and a real eye-opener to everyone."
Reformasi and Anything But Umno
Thousands of Malaysians from all walks of life shouting Reformasi, Hidup Anwar and ABU or Anything But Umnoare still thronging the Kuala Lumpur court complex in Jala Duta, where a controversial High Court judge had been widely expected to pronounce a 'guilty' verdict, despite a flimsy case and manifestly fabricated charges.
Such a guilty verdict, even if it had come with a stay of execution, would have been a blow to Anwar, as it disallows him from contesting in the 13th general election which Najib is expected to call later this year or early next year. But such an outcome has been anticipated by his Parti Keadilan Rakyat as well as Pakatan Rakyat coalition.
What has not been expected though is the sheer size of the crowd that cascaded into the court complex compound - by 8am, there were already more than 10,000 supporters. This, despite the mountain of threats from the police and the Najib administration. Incidentally, Najib fled the country over the weekend on an overseas trip to South Africa, with Umno watchers saying this was to forestall any unpleasant incident so that he could then blame the police or his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin.
"The people are still coming in. It is a spontaneous show of support for Anwar and a strong sign of rebellion against the Umno's crooked regime. This augurs well for Malaysia, hopefully when GE-13 takes place, Malaysians will be able to finally kick out Umno and begin to build a bright future together," PKR communications director Nik Nazmi had told Malaysia Chronicleearlier this morning. He expects a final crowd size of at least 20,000 people.
Fears of riot, Najib flees overseas
Pundits also warned that should a full-fledged riot take place, as many had feared, it would have been triggered by the police and agent provocateurs from Umno, the ruling party, as only they would have in hand the amount of funds and machinery to spark off a major incident.
Meanwhile, the top leadership of the three parties - PKR, DAP and PAS - forming the Pakatan have already drawn out a course of action to focus on how to wrest the federal government from Umno, which has ruled Malaysia for 54 years. There had been some speculation that Anwar may even be denied bail. But PKR leaders said this was unlikely. They said it was more plausible for the judge to pronounce Anwar guilty, extend bail, allow Anwar to appeal his sentence, while Najib bides his time on when best to spring GE-13 on an opposition he hopes will be badly stymied by Anwar's sentencing.
In the end, none of that happened. In the end, the highly-criticised Judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah ruled that the prosecution had not done enough to prove Anwar had committed sodomy against Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the complainant.
“The court does not exclude the possibility the (DNA) samples were compromised. “Therefore the accused is acquitted,” Mohd Zabidin ruled to shouts of joy from Anwar’s supporters and family.
Political malafide backfires
It now looks like Najib's malafide and political spite has backfired. Despite international calls and advice, Najib has been dead-set on gunning after Anwar, his arch rival from the 1980s and 90s when both were fast rising youth leaders in Umno.
Although, Umno leaders can now breathe easier and use the acquit-ruling to showcase fair play and lack of political influence in the judiciary, few in any Malaysian or foreigner would believe that.
In the past few days, Najib's advisers had changed their tune and were spreading the word that both the PM and wife Rosmah Mansor no longer want to pursue the Sodomy II trial, which they have been blamed for hatching together with Saiful. The first couple also refused to testify as witnesses despite meeting Saiful just before he lodged a police complaint that led to the Sodomy II trial. This further boosted the impression that both Najib and Rosmah have been scheming to disadvantage Anwar, creating too much negative repercussions for the first couple.
Mahathir returns to 'rule at Umno
According to party watchers, it was Umno power broker and former premier Mahathir Mohamad who has insisted the show goes on, or he would support Muhyiddin in the Umno party polls due to be held later this year. Some say Dr M even insisted Anwar be jailed immediately, but the legal advice from the Attorney General's office is that such a move would be too contrary to the existing legal practise and spark greater international and national odium for Malaysia's legal system.
"We have been discussing the various scenraios for the longest time. Of course, we cannot reveal except that we will immediately zoom in on GE-13 once the verdict is out," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
"We do not expect Anwar to be denied a stay of execution as that would really stretch the legalities, and cause further loss of credibility for his government. Although Mahathir is clamoring, we don't think Najib can do it because the lash back would be insurmountable. Look at Khir Toyo - serious corruption and still bail."
Indeed, all eyes are now on Mahathir's reaction to the acquittal. A smooth operator, Mahathir can be banked on to condemn the ruling, but it is what he may 'do' behind the scenes in Umno that many send a shiver down the party. Already, infighting and heated tempers have flared, rocking Umno divisions across the country.
A split in the Umno top ranks is bound to trigger a domino effect, hastening an implosion in the country's third biggest first.

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