Sunday, February 7, 2010

Quote of the week: Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trial

"Can I fuck you today?"

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's supposed "Mrs Robinson" moment, according to Saiful, the young former aide to Anwar who is now his chief accuser in a politically-charged sodomy trial that has gripped Malaysia.

It is upon the judges' interpretation of these words and other lurid details that Malaysia's political future depends. The trial, which is the second time that Anwar has been charged with having anal sex (a criminal offence in Malaysia), has been dubbed Sodomy II by Malaysia's dutiful state-owned press and Fitnah 2 - or "Defamation 2" - by Anwar's opposition allies.

The over-arching narrative of the coverage of the trial in the international media has been that these charges are either trumped up or politically-motivated or both.

Government politicians such as Khairy Jamaluddin, who heads the youth wing of the ruling UMNO party, have urged people not to pre-judge the outcome of the trial. But, given that the independence of the Malaysian police and judiciary was dismantled by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, it is hard to believe that Anwar's predicament is not driven by political imperatives.

Anwar insists that the charges are trumped up and that he is the victim of a political conspiracy by UMNO to destory Malaysia's resurgent opposition movement.



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