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Saturday, 7 January 2012

901 Malaysian Anwar’s life D-day? Rally allowed – only at car park!

Another twist in Anwar’s life


The Sodomy II verdict is around the corner and the PKR leader is pushing for a show of support with his party’s call for a mass rally on Monday.

YET another confrontation is brewing between PKR and its leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the authorities as his long-drawn Sodomy II trial climaxes with a verdict by Justice Mohamad Abidin Diah on Monday.

Anwar, who is charged with committing sodomy against his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan on June 26, 2008, is mobilising 100,000 people outside the courthouse on the day in an effort to presumably influence the verdict.

In the spotlight: Anwar and his wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail leaving the Kuala Lumpur courthouse in this file picture.>>
That number of people in a small court compound is also a sign of desperation on Anwar’s part, irrespective of whether that actual number of people turn up or not.

It is also an attempt to shake the political establishment, grip the nation’s attention, revive the flagging fortunes of his PKR and try to avert the inevitable.

Anwar has had a long and unrelenting political career that saw him rise to become the second most powerful man as Deputy Prime Minister but then fall from grace ending up as a prisoner only to rise again on his release in 2004, as leader of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

He came within touch of the country’s highest post, his lifelong dream, winning 82 seats in parliament in the 2008 general election.

The problem is that the political establishment saw Anwar as an outsider who first used the Islamic reform movement Abim to pressure for change and then when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad opened the doors, Anwar abandoned friends and principles and entered Umno.

He made short shrift of his opponents as he climbed up the Umno ladder and was helped along by Mahathir until 1999 when he was to have challenged his own benefactor for the Umno presidency and take the Prime Minister’s post that goes with it.

But he fell foul of powerful political interest groups and was expelled and jailed on corruption and sodomy charges in 1998.

He served his corruption sentence and was acquitted of sodomy and released in 2004 only to put together a loose knit grouping of three parties, including his own PKR, PAS and DAP, to win handsomely against then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in the 2008 general election.

He managed to combine his grievances, especially the black eye incident, with the grouses of the people and romp home against an ineffective prime minister, winning big but not big enough with just 49% of the popular votes.

After that an eager and impatient Anwar, instead of accepting the people’s verdict and playing his role as Opposition Leader, styled himself as the Prime Minister-in-waiting and launched his Sept 16 gambit that failed miserably when Barisan MPs refused to defect.

His credibility plunged with nearly everyone – the international media, his own supporters and the Malaysian public at large.

In the meantime, Umno saw fit to change horses, urgently retiring Abdullah and putting Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the captain’s seat. Anwar fought very hard to prevent Najib taking over but he failed.

Najib began his political and economic transformation of the nation and three years on is poised to call a general election on the strength of the changes he has introduced principally the repeal of the ISA and other outdated laws, a Peaceful Assembly Bill that allows demonstrations and repeal of Sec 29 of the Police Act that requires police permits.

He is also reforming the election laws and procedures, and has been criss-crossing the country meeting all kinds of people and offering aid and promising that the government is for all the people, not just a few.

Najib is now preparing to introduce a Race Relation law in the March sitting of Parliament that would further undercut the opposition chances at the polls by promising a fair and egalitarian society without discrimination based on race, colour or ethnicity.

Anwar on the other hand has been, as his one-time ally Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK) claims, a frequent traveller overseas giving speeches at numerous conferences while his sodomy trial here dragged on with numerous postponements.

Surprisingly, at the trial, Anwar preferred not to testify under oath but gave a speech from the dock decrying government oppression and persecution likening himself to Nelson Mandela.

He also gave up his chance to rebut Saiful thoroughly.

Further sensitive parts of Saiful’s testimony were held in camera, at Anwar’s request. Anwar also promised to call a long list of alibi witnesses but did not do so, weakening his case.

As many, including RPK, have said, Anwar received a fair trial this time compared with 1999.

Whatever the verdict, for Anwar it is just another day and event in a tumultuous career that could have easily floored a lesser man but not this incorrigible optimist.

Rally allowed – only at car park


KUALA LUMPUR: Police have allowed the much talked-about Free Anwar 901 gathering to go on as long as it is held at the car park of the Jalan Duta Court Complex here.

The court complex has parking bays for 1,000 vehicles.

City police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohmad Salleh said the decision was made after a discussion with PKR deputy president Azmin Ali yesterday.

“After the discussion, they (the organisers) promised to have a peaceful gathering at the car park,” he said during a press conference.

Approved site: The car park outside the Duta Court Complex where the rally is allowed take place.
The meeting between DCP Mohmad and Azmin lasted for one and half hours at the city police headquarters.

Meanwhile, Sentul OCPD Asst Comm Zakaria Pagan said they had imposed 10 conditions on the organisers and supporters.

They have banned the use of “Free Anwar 901” tagline and the organisers were allowed to use only two loud hailers for crowd control purposes.

“The use of Free Anwar 901 tagline and amplifiers is strictly forbidden,” he said.

Stressing that no speeches were allowed, Zakaria said the organisers must ensure that participants did not cause any nuisance.

He said they were only allowed to assemble at the public car park on the left side of the main road.

“Participants should not step outside the boundary,” he said, adding that “excess” crowds would not be allowed.

He also said the participants must not carry any form of weapons, cooperate during spot checks and that the crowd should disperse within an hour after the verdict was delivered.

The rally is planned to coincide with the court decision in the high-profile sodomy case of Opposition Leader and PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar, 64, is charged with sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at a condominium in Bukit Damansara between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

On Thursday, Inspector-Gene-ral of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said the organisers had been asked to meet the city police chief to discuss whether the gathering should be held at another location instead of in front of the court complex.

Anwar told a ceramah last night that the court's decision was secondary and the most important thing was for Pakatan Rakyat to win the general election.

In PUTRAJAYA, the Alliance of Non-governmental Organisations Malaysia and several individuals have lodged police reports against the rally.

Its secretary Mohd Jurit Ramli urged the authorities to take action against the organisers on grounds that the gathering would be an insult to the country's judiciary.

The group, comprising some 50 NGO leaders, lodged 45 reports against the gathering.

Related posts:

Malaysia's Anwar's Sodomy Verdict D-Day 901; So near, yet so far?

Politician, hero or zero? RPK hits back at critics!

 Malaysia's Anwar walking a tightrope! He should resign ...

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