Monday, July 07, 2008

Political Mud-slinging In Malaysia

Malaysians may be left confused by the political mud-slinging last week, but one thing seems clear - opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has come out a winner in public perception.

And Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak's reputation has been left somewhat dented after this bruising battle with Anwar, seen as his closest rival for the premiership of Malaysia.

The accusations and counter-accusations kept Malaysians agog with its twists and turns last week, and has polarised the country almost as bitterly as it did in 1998, when Anwar was first accused of sodomy. Then, it was former premier Mahathir Mohamad who sacked him over allegations that he had sodomised his employees.

Last week, it was Anwar's aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan who made the accusation in a police report. The police have not made known their findings.

But many Malaysians have made up their minds. According to an independent survey last week, nearly 60 per cent believed it was part of a political conspiracy.

"It is no longer about who is telling the truth, or who is right or wrong. It is about public perception, and what people believe or want to believe," political commentator Joceline Tan wrote in her column in The Star newspaper yesterday. She noted that it was amazing how Anwar had managed to dictate events. He proved again just how astute he is at playing this political game.

His dawn rush to the Turkish Embassy for refuge on June 29 over alleged death threats immediately cast him as a victim. The release of a photograph of Saiful with an aide of Najib further cemented the impression of a political conspiracy, and this was compounded by the Deputy Premier's admission that the young man had seen him after the alleged sexual assault.

No doubt, Anwar already knew of this meeting. It is believed that his wife Wan Azizah Ismail had informed Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi about this when she saw him to ask for a guarantee of her husband's safety.

Najib had, in fact, volunteered information on his meeting with Saiful without being asked during a press conference.

Anwar upped the stakes when he released a statutory declaration by a private investigator alleging that Najib had sexual relations with a Mongolian woman who was later murdered. Najib denied the claims.

The woman's lover, Abdul Razak Baginda, who is on trial for abetting her murder, is a close associate of Najib.

Anwar lost some of his gains, however, when the private investigator, P. Balasubramaniam, retracted his allegations a mere 24 hours later.

By the end of the week, the episode is less about Anwar's alleged wrongdoing than him being seen as a victim of political conspiracy yet again.

"After all, politics is all about perception," Wong Chun Wai, a top editor of The Star, wrote in his column. A political analyst, who thinks that the truth may never be fully known, agrees that it has left Anwar with a distinct, even if unplanned, advantage. "It gives him the upper hand, and has put the Barisan Nasional even more on the defensive," he said.

The timing could not have been better for Anwar, so much so that some have accused him of orchestrating the whole sodomy accusation.

His repetitive claims that he was about to seize power through defections from the BN ranks were beginning to wear thin. Anwar's credibility was increasingly being strained, and this was compounded by his inexplicable reluctance to contest a by-election that would allow him to re-enter Parliament. He became eligible to contest in April after the expiry of a legal ban which arose from his conviction for corruption in 1999. One of his party's MPs was meant to resign his seat to force a by-election.

He had claimed that he was about to do so when the sodomy accusation arose.
"Without this week's events, Anwar may have lost momentum. But now, he has regained upper hand," said the political analyst.

It may not bring him any closer to Malaysia's top post - which he is eyeing - but it has weakened the BN. And put his closest rival Najib at a disadvantage.

Prime Minister Abdullah, who has been under pressure to resign after the March 8 polls left his administration severely weakened, has said he would hand over the job to Najib. But while Najib has been left on the defensive, his strength within Umno appears to be intact. The main setback for him now is that it has become untenable for him to take power until he regains credibility. (Sin Chew Jit Poh, Malaysia)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sodomist is a Gone Case for sure.
Selamat Meninggal Sodomist.

There is no way people will let a Sodomist to become a PM.
Yesterday 'Protes' shows how little support the Sodomist get this time.

The DAP and PAS refused to move their machinary to bring their supporter to the rally.

MTUC also ban their members from going.

All the Topbloggers also decline to persuade their readers to go and even call the 'Protes' rally a dirty political tactics to manipulate the people.

After we chop off this Sodomist, then we can start chopping the rotten BN fish head.

Najib ... it is all up to you now.


3:20 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry you are totally wrong, it is up to Najib to prove he is innocent of the crime he and his wife is implicated.
It does not matter if Anwar do not become PM, it does matter if a criminal becomes PM. For his reluctance to take action against RPK and Bala goes to show he has something to hide or is guilty as implcated, otherwise why is he so reluctant to sue and is hiding behind ISA. Just as LKS says he should go on leave and work to clear our mind of his guilt, till then he should never be PM, unless he has something on the lame duck PM and has threatened to bring it out in the open. There is absolutely no reason for Badawi to nominate Najib as his successor, there are other who has cleaner records should be considered.
Go to hell Najib!!!

6:54 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are being the laughing stocks to the rest of the world. Can only happen here in Malaysia !!

9:21 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kenapa la korang percaya sangat dkt sodomist tuh. Dia buat apa pun nampak macam malaikat.
Kalau berani angkat sumpah depan quran, kenapa perlu ulama luar negara? Yang penting tuhan tahu Biar la dia jual malaysia dekat US. Baru korang menyesal satu hari nanti. Sokong membuta tuli dekat anwar tuh!

9:59 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Blao said...

Anwar wasn't given the bad card when Bala retracted the ori SD and is now missing with his family..just a quick round in the coffee house and it is obvious who ppl think is behind both of that. So either way he emerges the winner. I've gotta give it to him for being the best political animal we've ever seen. At the rate we're going, I'm not unwilling to subscribe to the theory that he is behind absolutely everything, even those that might not seem beneficial to him YET

2:38 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Skty said...

I actually think it's good that our PM is out of this, deliberately or not. We have in a power struggle two born politicians, it's a good chance for our PM to show that he cares not for filthy politicking like this, but good old (sometimes boring) governance. So I see his silence in a good way, and will not speculate on the reasons (since whatever he does somebody will find fault anyway)

2:40 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

leno: Then you'll have to chop off Najib too, for he has been declared a sodomist and adulterator. And in time, he will prove to be what everybody in Malaysia (except you and certain UMNO people) knows he is. It's a 8-letter word, starting with 'm'.

12:13 PM GMT+8  

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