Monday, January 9, 2012

Winners and losers — The Malaysian Insider

Winners and losers — The Malaysian Insider

January 09, 2012

JAN 9 — This was a verdict out of the left field. There was jubilation in the ranks of the opposition and the recrimination has already started in Umno and Perkasa.

In this politically polarised nation, The Malaysian Insider polls who can walk away from this case considered a winner and who will slink away as a loser.

Winners:

1) Anwar Ibrahim

The whole machinery of the government and ruling coalition was trained on this one man for three years. He and his family were vilified daily.

A less of a fighter would have crumbled in the face of these ferocious and nasty attacks (remember the snide comments by Messrs Najib and others at the Umno assembly) but Anwar fought back, giving as good as he received.

Today, he is still standing and possibly re-energised by this ordeal.

2) Karpal Singh and the team of defence lawyers

The veteran DAP lawyer is sometimes more bombast than anything else but he expertly navigated through the second sodomy trial, in the process shredding Saiful’s testimony, casting serious doubts on evidence and on the manner the case was handled and on the competency of the government’s Chemistry Department.

3) Nik Aziz, Hadi Awang and other PAS stalwarts.

Immense pressure was applied by Umno and the Malay-language dailies for PAS to disengage from Pakatan Rakyat over Anwar’s sodomy charge.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi even tried to use the sodomy charge to persuade PAS to team up with Umno after the 2008 elections. But PAS leaders, especially Nik Aziz Nik Mat, stayed loyal.

4) The Najib government

The government wasted little time in crafting a statement hailing the acquittal as a kudos for the reforms proposed by the Najib administration and as proof of the independence of the judiciary.

Definitely, the administration will score points with fencesitters and foreign governments for not “interfering” with the case.

The administration could ride on the momentum and expect Prime Minister Najib Razak to use this court decision to beat the reform drum upon his return from South Africa this afternoon.

5) High Court judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah

For sifting through the facts and fiction of the case. He sat patiently through it all, absorbing the histrionics that both sides gave and never letting it affect his judgment.

And this was the judge that Karpal tried to recuse many times.

In the end, he decided based on the facts.

Losers:

1) Umno, Perkasa

Don’t expect the likes of Ibrahim Ali or Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be celebrating this court decision. They and others from Umno/Perkasa had been hoping to see Anwar locked up.

The inquisition has already begin in Umno where much energy and its reputation have been invested in hammering Anwar. The court decision could hurt morale within Umno.

2) Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan

The complainant who spent a lot of time and energy to prove that his cause was genuine, to the extent of taking an oath on the Quran.

But this is a criminal case in a secular court, based on facts. And the facts were found wanting.

His actions before and after he lodged a police report also gave rise to speculation of a plot.

3) The Attorney-General’s Chambers and the police force

The case was flimsy from the start and should have been thrown out at the prosecution stage. Is there any other state prosecution team which has a more disastrous record in big trials?

Is there any other A-G who continues to prosper despite the dismal record of his chambers? Well, what more can be said about the police but “how did it get so bad”. DNA evidence was kept in a cupboard for much longer than was acceptable.

4) The mainstream media

Take a bow, Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, Berita Harian, TV3, The Star, RTM, Bernama and other members of the government media. Little space was given to the trial when the prosecution’s case was being demolished.

Court reporting was dictated and manipulated by senior editors with the aim of skewing public opinion.

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