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Fwd: MGG Pillai - Gov Stumbles in AI affair
By web aNtu

4/8/2000 9:16 pm Fri

Subject: [sangkancil] [MGG] The Government Stumbles Yet Again In The Anwar

Counsel for He Who Must Be Destroyed At All Cost two days ago got the expected fax from the High Court registrar: Judge Arifin Jaka, who had fixed Friday, 04 August 00, to deliver judgement in his s###my trial, would not yet. No reasons given, but it only highlights the judicial and prosecutorial stumbling to convict the former deputy prime minister convicted, on the flimsiest of charges, if indeed there is a triable charge that can stick. The judicial slip that fixed judgement day on a Friday coupled with an Anwarista show of force with a political gathering in support skewered the political pitch as nothing else could. The government huffed and puffed, threatened dire consequences to any who dare congregate at the National Mosque, show television clips of the 13 May 1969 riots. But how could it forbid Friday prayers in Kuala Lumpur mosques without pouring more odium and contempt upon its tettered persona? The case is postponed. That it is after Dato' Seri Anwar put the chief justice in a spot by asking him to recuse in an appeal before him, and refusing to proceed when he refused, widens the political ramifications of the two-year headlong confrontation between the Prime Minister and the prisoner. The Prime Minster stumbles in every attempt to cage the prisoner even more securely, but it is the latter who is more believed.

This shifting sands of public support deserts He Who Thinks He Is Lord Of All He Surveys towards He Who Must Be Destroyed At All Cost. The unexpected meeting the Prime Minister and his deputy had with their advisors at the UMNO headquarters on Wednesday underscored the crisis Dato' Seri Anwar brought upon the government. The Prime Minister used the Grik arms heist and its aftermath to put the opposition in the spot, this one fell stroke making irrelevant all others. But he handled that ineptly, as one comes to expect from his accident-prone administration, and is now upstaged by Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim's shrewed move to rise above the mundane and the irrelevant to political leadership. When the chief justice, Tun Eusoff Chin, deflected his attempt to have him recuse, the political initiative became no more the Prime Minister's. The past comparisons of Dato' Seri Anwar's predicament to Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Leon Trotsky jailed for their political beliefs was self-serving then, but not any more after his performance last Tuesday and Wednesday in court. It does not matter now if Judge Arifin Jaka were to convict at the postponed hearing. Many expect him to; though others insist he would be acquitted as the government could not withstand the Malay flak from the bondooks.

The initiative is no more the Prime Miniter's. Ironically, the Prime Minister is the prisoner, and the prisoner the free man. Whether or not the projected gathering of Anwaristas take place at the National Mosque today is irrelevant. News of it reflected official nervousness, the threats of May 13 frightening some but not all, and its hamfisted attempts to contain it showing the world its nervousness of the troubles a man jailed can cause from his prison cell. The mosques throughout the country saw thousands of Anwar supporters and those who felt an injustice had been done to him gather to pray for his wellbeing. Once, this would have composed largely of his supporters; today, they include those whom the Prime Minsiter would gladly sup with at his table. The Malay conscience, to not put a fine point to it, deserts the Prime Minister and his administration. The continued jailing of Dato' Seri Anwar is no more judicial, but irreversibly political. He has left more tham a glimmer of doubt that the judiciary cannot be trusted to dispense justice if the powers that be want otherwise. And with it the government's own stand with those who challenge it.

The once supportive Malay ground, as a result, slides away from the Prime Minister and his administration, the November 1999 general elections an ignored early warning, which he compensates by pleading for multiracial support from the Chinese and Indians. This would have been believed if this happened when the Malay ground solidly supported him as it once did. Now, with the Malay disinclined to back him, any other support gives him a false security of tenure. He was all right so long as this Malay heartland,though supportive of Dato' Seri Anwar's predicament would not accept his leadership. This changes. Irrevocably. From when he refused to argue his appeal before a forum the chief justice presided. The Prime Minister's moral authority to govern is now challenged. Every institution of government is challenged. The judiciary cannot be trusted to intervene in the cause of justice, subservient as it is, as Dato' Seri Anwar a#serted in the Federal Court on Tuesday, to the requirements of the administration. And his travails captures the imagination of Malaysians, even with the mainstream newspapers careful, to the point of stupidity, not to give him his due. If one were to depend on the mainstream newspapers on what happened in court, as of what happens in this country and the world, one would have been grossly misled.

The Malay ground seethes. The government trembles. He Who Must Be Destroyed At All Cost as equinanimous and confident in his Sungei Buloh cell as the Prime Minister in his Istana Rakyat is not. The crowds may gather, or they might not. It does not matter. This panic rush to prevent the crowds gathering by appealing to the people not to wears thin. Judge Arifin Jaka's curious decision to deliver judgement on a Friday, and then postponing it, for whatever reason, puts the government in a bind. What we see now is the irrevocabline decline inherent in any autocratic government that harps on time-worn, often irrelevant theoretical goalposts of the post which are as relevant in the modern world as the dodo is. Until this problem of Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim is resolved -- and how that can be while the man continues to sit in jail is beyond my comprehension -- not just the government and the Prime Minister's reputation is at stake. For one, UMNO could well be irrelevant when 2004 comes. Dato' Seri Anwar has time on his hands to sit and ponder his moves. But I seem more inclined to accept the view I once did not have: from the view that he is the spark that led to this confrontation, I see him now as a prime minister in the future, quicker than I would have dared believe. My reservations about this no longer matter.

M.G.G. Pillai

Link Reference : Newskini