My Anthem

Friday, March 06, 2015

Now They Have Put DS Anwar Ibrahim Behind Bars ...

Let Desi recall a short poem that a Pastor (is he also a Socialist writer after Desi's heART?) Martin Niemoller wrote:

"First they came for the Socialists..."
Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


**************************************


DESI maketh a SPECIAL APPEAL to all cariing and just-minded Malaysians to rise up against the evil regime before they cometh even into your neigfhbourhood to oppress and suppress more of our freedoms. Support the ongoing campaign by SDR ANWAR IBRAHIM's family led by eldest daughter MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah to FREE ANWAR -- a second campaign indeed as 'tis Deja Vu for the Opposition Leader for being put behind bards second time around on trumped up Sodomy charges. He already spent six years plus on "Abuse of Power" charges during the Mahathior regime; Add to that an incarceration before that two years under the Internal Security Act, Anwar has become Malaysia's Mandela, IMHO. Anwar has set an example for us. Please fellow Malaysians, do our little bit / byte to fight for our freedoms to campaign for Anwar's freedom. He carries the Torch of Freedom for ALL DECENT DEMOCRATIC-MINDED MALAYSIANS!

From the Malay Mail Online I C&P:




Anwar’s family to petition state-to-state seeking his release (VIDEO)
By Mayuri Mei Lin
Published: March 5, 2015 11:55 PM
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SUNGAI BULOH, March 5 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s family has created a petition, which they will use to campaign from state-to-state, urging the Pardons Board to grant the jailed Opposition Leader a royal pardon.
In an attempt to free Anwar who was sentenced to five years behind bars, his eldest daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar said that the petition is to test the Federal Constitution and exercise the family’s rights as Malaysians.
“So, by the grace of god, we plan to travel to each state and invite as many as possible to support this petition,” she said of the document titled “Petition to Seek the Pardon for the Sidelining of the Principles of Justice and the Defence of Betrayal Towards Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim”.
“What I mean is, it is our right to test whether this system gives us space as Malaysian citizens. This is what is promised as enshrined in the Federal Constitution,” she said to a crowd of approximately 100 Anwar supporters gathered at the gates of the Sungai Buloh prison.
Also present was Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong and PKR’s director of communications Fahmi Fadzil.
Nurul Izzah urged everyone present at the candlelight vigil to sign the petition, as well as rally in Kuala Lumpur this Saturday with the #KitaLawan movement.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/anwars-family-to-petition-state-to-state-seeking-his-release-video#sthash.2QjPuaFP.dpuf


“On March 7, you have to be there. We will do our best; don’t ever be afraid of the cruel leaders,” she said, referring to the leadership in the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN).
Former Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan echoed her sentiments and urged everyone to rally on Saturday and continue fighting for Anwar’s release, whose incarceration Ambiga maintained is politically motivated.
“We must never give up. We must do everything legally possible to get Anwar out of there,” she said.
This comes as Dang Wangi district police chief ACP Zainol Samah said yesterday that the police have yet to receive any notice from the organisers of #KitaLawan, and as such, he said the event would be in violation of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PPA).
The PPA stipulates that organisers of such events should give the authorities 10 days’ notice.
Zainol also said that the police will monitor the event on Saturday, but stressed that this was not for the purpose of arresting participants.
Organisers of #KitaLawan also said today that the rally will be monitored by Malaysian Bar Council members and a delegation of human rights activists.
Zainol warned, however, that those who break the law would be detained in accordance with the law.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/anwars-family-to-petition-state-to-state-seeking-his-release-video#sthash.2QjPuaFP.dpuf

*********************************


Repiring an olde post of mine to bore you! cun:(

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

First they came ...

I paid a belated catchUP visit with saiko's Screenshots @jeffooi.com today, and I think it timely to remind us of a little poem attributed to:

"...Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

"[edit] History
An early supporter of Hitler, by 1934 Niemöller had come to oppose the Nazis, and it was largely his high connections to influential and wealthy businessmen that saved him until 1937, after which he was imprisoned, eventually at Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. He survived to be a leading voice of penance and reconciliation for the German people after World War II. His poem is well-known, frequently quoted, and is a popular model for describing the dangers of political apathy, as it often begins with specific and targeted fear and hatred which soon escalates out of control.

Wikipedia has a collection of quotations related to:
Martin Niemöller if your interest goes beyond what's currently of relevance to Malaysians, especially the Blogging community:








[edit] Poem (1976 version)

Original

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.


Translation

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
 

Monday, March 02, 2015

Desi Is Sad, Mad -- I hope more Malaysians are Enraged!

ENRAGED by the goings-on in NegaraKu which is directing the country towards the abyss, economically and law&order-wise.

IF you still don't get it, get the Here out of Hell! Hey, I am jesting hear OK -- to lift myself out of the depths of sadness. Which is endurable with passing time. That must also explain WHY I DID NOT WISH MY CHINESE readers worldwide Happy New Year. Cos there is nothin' to be happy about in Malaysia.

It has all to do with TWO GIGANTIC CASES INVOLVING TRAVESTIES OF JUSTICE -- one involving the case of foreign national the late Mongolian beauty Altantuya Sharriibuu, and the other more damaging to our beloved country involving DS ANWAR IBRAHIM -- The Prme Minister-in-waiting who is the only politician the desperadoes in UMNO fear the most and would sparee no efforts in keeping him shut up!! --hence the continued demonisation of MP for Permatang Pauh and Opposition Leader  and his beloved family. -- SECOND TIME AROUND on trumped up Sodomy charges.


Let me quote a poem from my Little Blak Booki "Midnight Voices and Other Poems" which I self-publ;ished in 2007, sold at cover price of RM15, but now a collectible item worth RM15X100; you wanna get my sole Reference Copy?


From page 117, I reproduce part of the pome for thee because I pamper my ER~:)~~



It Gets Curiouser and Curiouser

When I was young I was told
Spinning a story you must be bold
But it still must have a beginning
And an ending, and somethin’ in between
But lately my motherland
Gave birth to very strange events
The cycle was like a record
Being played out from the end
Remember Michael Jackson’s video clip
When uprooted trees regained their standing stature
Dried up safari land became green pastures
And elephant carcasses stood majestically alive again


It gets curiouser and curiouser
As was observed in Alice in Wonderland
And events in Malaysia the past decade
Closely mirror Lewis Carroll’s rich imaginings
The story purportedly started in September 1998
As many Anwarists would want you to believe
That Reformasi was galvanized
When the deputy PM was excised from the head

But my friends, be reminded
It was way back on a May Day in ‘88
When the court sat on a holy day
A panel of junior judges sacked their chief
Salleh Abas Lord President was dismissed in a jiffy
But then DPM Anwar Ibrahim held his tongue
A decade later with one fell swoop
Anwar became a lauded victim in the vicious loop
Reformasi Anwar started, his loyalists proclaim

They forgot Salleh and his Brave Ones
Who stood their ground for justice
They indeed were the unheralded Originals
Reformation is not only taking to the streets
It’s changing of the mindset


What became of the Judiciary following Salleh?
It was downhill all the way…
It led the country’s leading judicious mind
The late Tun Suffian Hashim to lament in 2000:

“I wouldn’t like to be tried by today’s judges,
Especially if I am innocent.”*
******

*******Quoted from a speech on March 10, 2000 that the former Lord President delivered at a Bar commemoration for the late Justice Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman.


__________________________________________
 DESI would like to highlight the following last stanza-- especially7-starred two closing lines!; dear ER, please ruminate on it and tell me its RELEVANCE? First 10 ER who answer via Comments may be rewarded with a photostat copy of the said book Midnight Voices, K!


What became of the Judiciary following Salleh?
It was downhill all the way…
It led the country’s leading judicious mind
The late Tun Suffian Hashim to lament in 2000:

“I wouldn’t like to be tried by today’s judges,
Especially if I am innocent.”*******



Today I also sighted the best write-up todate on the issue of DS Anwar's family members filing an appeal to the Yang diPertuan Agong for a royal pardon -- from the SUN,PAGE 10, MARCH 2, 2015,  "LAW SPEAK" column, by GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR:




Law Speak - The royal pardon

RECENT events have propelled into the public domain the topic of the pardon for a criminal conviction. Several questions have emerged: Who exercises this power? How is it exercised? Who can ask for a pardon? When can it be sought? Does an application imply guilt? Can the decision to grant or reject be challenged? What is the effect of a pardon?
This article seeks to look at the applicable law and, where known, the practice in relation to pardons.
Who is given the power?
The power to grant a pardon is given explicitly by the Federal Constitution to the King – for offences committed in the Federal Territory; and to the ruler or governor of a state if the offence is committed in a state.
It is an exercise of executive power – as contrasted with the judicial functions of the courts or legislative functions of Parliament. Although executive power is vested under our constitution in the King, he is required to act on advice – either of the Cabinet or any other designated body.
The constitution has also established a Pardons Board for each of the states as well as one for all the Federal Territories. It comprises the attorney-general (or his representative), the Federal Territories minister and three other members to be appointed by the King. The King presides over the board. The board must consider the written opinion of the attorney-general before giving its decision.
The appointment of a cabinet minister seems to be at odds with the spirit of a constitutional provision which states that Parliament may make a law requiring the King to act after consultation with, or on the recommendation of, any person or body of persons other than the Cabinet – although no law has been enacted. The spirit of this provision implies that the Cabinet (which must necessarily include any cabinet member) must not be in any advisory body.
Courts often look not only at the letter of the law but, as well, its spirit to determine its reach.
In summary, the King decides whether or not to grant a pardon. He must seek the advice of the Pardons Board. Further, it is questionable whether a cabinet minister should be in the board.
Must the King act in accordance with the advice?
Does the King act in his own discretion; or must he follow the advice given by the Pardons Board?
Pre-1994 court decisions declared that it was the King's personal discretion to decide on the grant or refusal of a pardon. A 1974 Supreme Court decision declared: "Clearly the Yang di-Pertuan Agong himself exercised the power."
However, in 1994, the constitution was amended, following upon an intense contest between the rulers and the executive under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The power of the King to act on his own was dramatically curtailed – except in a very limited number of prescribed situations.
A new provision was added: whenever the King exercises his functions under the constitution or any federal law where he is required to act "in accordance with advice, on advice, or after considering advice", then he must accept and act in accordance with such advice: Article 40(1A).
This implies that after the amendment, the advice of the Pardons Board must be accepted and acted upon. However the relevant Article 42 – which deals with pardons – was not amended to reflect this change. And court decisions since the amendment seem to reflect the same position as before the amendment. As late as 2002, a full five-judge panel of the Federal Court approved the pre-amendment principle (cited above); as did a recent 2011 High Court case.
So although the legal position – on a straight reading of the constitutional provisions – is that the King does not act in his personal discretion, case law supports the proposition that the King has the personal discretion to decide whether or not to grant the pardon. Further, he is not bound to act on the "advice" given by the Pardons Board.
The process
There are no rules governing the process. It is not stated who should be the applicant. Nor is the form of the petition prescribed. Also, there is neither a time limit for submitting the petition; nor for the King to decide. The considerations that the King must take into account are also not stated.
This is left to be inferred from matters relevant to the grant of "mercy". The Supreme Court merely states that each case is to be decided on its own merits. The King can take into consideration matters which courts, bound by the law of evidence, cannot take into account; and he can consider public policy.
Admission of guilt?
The person convicted of a crime is appealing to the King to grant him a reprieve from the sentence. Generally and quite logically this would connote an admission of guilt.
Most cases where a pardon is sought fall in this category. Mokhtar Hashim's death sentence was commuted. A 14-year-old boy sentenced to death was instead sent to a school for delinquent juveniles. The jail sentence of Harun Idris, one-time mentri besar of Selangor, was reduced.
What if the petition for pardon is made on the basis that there has been a miscarriage of justice and that the convict is innocent? Can a pardon be given where guilt is not admitted?
There is nothing in law to say that a pardon cannot be made on this basis; or that a pardon cannot be given taking this "innocence" into account. Of course, it may be a lot harder to get a pardon on this basis. But there is no legal constraint.
The King must act "with the greatest conscience and care and without fear of influence from any quarter" – as the higher courts have repeatedly affirmed. So he can decide on the basis of the grounds of innocence set out in a petition. The King is not obliged to give any reasons for his decision; nor are reasons normally provided when the pardon is granted.
This suggests that there is no limit to the situations when a pardon can be granted on the basis of mercy.
Further, as the courts have repeatedly declared, the King does not sit as a court. He is entitled to take into consideration matters which courts cannot take into account. He can decide on his view of public policy.
So legally speaking, it is open for the petition to be considered on the grounds it refers to, including assertions of innocence and miscarriage of justice.
In these circumstances a particular petition presented on these grounds does not necessarily imply an admission of guilt.
Can it be challenged?
Whatever decision the King makes cannot be challenged in a court of law. The courts have consistently ruled that the discretion exercised is not justiciable. Nor can anything indirectly related to it be challenged – such as a delay in coming to a decision.
What is the effect?
A Harvard Law Review article, after a review of copious case law, concludes that the pardon removes all legal punishment for the offence; and if the conviction involves certain disqualifications the pardon removes such disqualifications. These accord with the provisions of our Federal Constitution which state that a member of parliament who has received a free pardon is not disqualified from being such a member. Additionally, the King is also authorised to remove the disqualification of a convicted member of parliament.
Gurdial is Professor at the Law Faculty, University of Malaya. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

**************************************************


DESIDERATA:
Dear ER, it is educational for yee to read the following related reports! NO, I don't work for the Malay Mail, now about the only print media, besides the Malay Mail, that  dare to publish more "balanced reports, in contrast with NST and The Star.
 When Kak Wan and a daughter first filed the petition at the eleventh hour for a royal pardon, I was saddened; the dismay arose from the expected UMNO plugging the tageline, "It (application for pardon) amounts to an admission of guilt". So the public would be bombarded with this line by the mainstream media. And who is that blardy lawyer -- I deem him not worthy of even mentioning at Midnight Voices! -- who served as prosecutor engaging further in the travesty of justice by touring negaraku spilling out evidence given IN-CAMERA in the Sodomy 2 trial running down the Opposition Leader now languising in jail ...?
Thanks to Mr Nijar's elucidation on THE ROYAL PARDON, I am somewhat relieved by what DS Anwar's wife and daughter did, they must have been well counselled, and also sunk in the wells of emotional distress.

Meanwhile, to my fellow scribes in the media, both mainstream and Online, I have a plea, cun? "Don't Sell Thy Souls to the Devil!" -- paraphrasing from DS Anwar's statement in the closing remarks during his sentencing to the five-year jail during which the five judges walked out of the courtroom...


Mama Mia, let me go back to enjoying The Tremeloes' SILENCE IS GOLDEN -- click on the Theme Song above lah! --if one can't speak the TRUTH!


Last updated Monday, March 02, 2015 11:45am
Nurul Nuha Anwar (left) is joined by Nurul Ilham Anwar during an interview at her house in Segambut, Kuala Lumpur, February 23, 2015. — Pictures by Yusof Mat IsaNurul Nuha Anwar (left) is joined by Nurul Ilham Anwar during an interview at her house in Segambut, Kuala Lumpur, February 23, 2015. — Pictures by Yusof Mat IsaKUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — Smear tactics may be a reality of vicious politics, but Nurul Nuha Anwar said she will never accept the allegations aimed at father Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim both online and in the media.
From attacks on his personal character as well as claims on his supposed thirst for political power, the second daughter of the jailed opposition leader said he was nothing like what detractors sought to portray him to be.
For the 31 year-old, the Anwar she knows and loves is a family man, a doting grandfather and a voracious reader.
“People have tainted him so much so that we cannot distinguish the person he is often made out to be.
“But the truth is, the person he is made out to be is different from the person he actually is,” Nurul Nuha told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.
She said growing up in the Anwar household was never easy; simple trips to the shopping mall and even watching the occasional movie at the cinema that most families take for granted were rare luxuries.
“I mean we do go to malls sometimes to have dinner, to shop, and when people greeted Anwar, he would readily shake their hands and pose for photographs with them, it’s just who he is as a person,” she said, pausing between each sentence before continuing.
“It can be restrictive at times… but we need to have a sense of normalcy.”
To make up, the family would catch movies together at home, where Anwar would often play with his grandchildren as Nurul Nuha said he loved to do.
Nurul Ilham Anwar speaking during an interview at her house in Segambut, Kuala Lumpur, February 23, 2015.Nurul Ilham Anwar speaking during an interview at her house in Segambut, Kuala Lumpur, February 23, 2015.Her younger sister, Nurul Ilham Anwar, said Anwar discouraged his family from watching television during the weekend and instead, always pushed the need for reading.
“He just loves reading. All of us would be in a room together with him, each reading different books, and that to him would be how the family should spend their time together.
“This is why we bring his favourite books and read quotes from them when we gather every night outside the Sungai Buloh prison,” she told Malay Mail Online.
On February 10, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s 2014 ruling that reversed Anwar’s acquittal of sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, and sentenced the Permatang Pauh lawmaker to five years’ jail.
Anwar’s family members have submitted an application for a royal pardon  in hopes of freeing the leader from his Sungai Buloh cell and allowing him to retain his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/anwar-a-family-man-image-smeared-by-detractors-daughters-say#sthash.u6nKujbK.dpuf

Friday, February 13, 2015

Anwar Ibrahim -- Malaysian MandelA-ised by UMNO Iblis

Since Tunku Abdul Rahman became the "happiest" Prime Minister of Malaya/Malaysia after the country gained Indfependence on Aug 31, 1957, NegaraKu was initially a happy, united multi-racial nation. The populace did not see national issues FROM A RACIST-LENS, until successive PMs felt that RACISM was/ is a powerful instrument to be used to ensure Bigf Brother UMNO,leading component of first the Alliance coalition, later the expanded Barisan Nasional,  we have seen NO OTHER PM worthy of national esteem as UMNO became more and more racist. Even a former Elections Commission chief admitted he deemed his role was to ensure poolitical power continued to remain in the hands of the Malays (via ruling BN dominated by UMNO).

In fact, former DPM Anwar Ibrahim could have lingered longer at the Sungai Buloh Prison had not one Abdullah Badawi come along to head the nation after the like-him-or-hate-him Dr Mahathir Mohamad. In was during the sleepuy-eyed Pak Lah, as fondly known, that an UMNO depicted to the Malaysian some milk of human decency-- a rare commodity among Malaysian politicians! -- that allowed some semblance of judicial independence to enable Anwar's survival the first Sodomy I charge.

Some 15 years later, the PM-in-waiting was not so fortunate as, SAVE FOR PAK LAH, few court cases which involved POLITICAL figures from the Opposition, could be deemed independently adjudicated. Yes, there is more show of independce in COMMERCIAL cases, but this only involved Mony, NOT POLITICAL POWER, so the UMNO kingpins could close one eye.

After two years incarceration under the now repealed ISA (Internal Security Act), why do do ask wan, ignoramus? -- Anwar spent six years in jail for Abuse of Power soon after he was sacked by Dr Malathir at end-1999!  Thankfully, Pak Lah's ascension allowed Anwar to be relased from prison to re-enter the political arena after a five-year bar (while his loving wife Dr Wan Azizah Ismail was thrown reluctantly into the political pool, and became by default Opposition Leader. Do you recall it was brave Pak Lah who referred to some one as an IBLIS rocking his eraly days of PMship?

Tuesday's Federal Court's decision to convict Anwar on Sodomy 2, and ordering a five-year jail term is all DEJA VU. This Shakespearian inspired politician's journey paralleled many facets of South Africa's NELSON MANDELA.

******* Before I reprise an olde post later as a PS, cun? Can I extract some background on Nelson Mandela from wikipedia? (Desi, knotyyaSsusual, always pampering you!)


1st President of South Africa
In office
10 May 1994 – 14 June 1999
Deputy Thabo Mbeki
F. W. de Klerk
Preceded by F. W. de Klerk
Succeeded by Thabo Mbeki
Secretary General of Non-Aligned Movement
In office
2 September 1998 – 14 June 1999
Preceded by Andrés Pastrana Arango
Succeeded by Thabo Mbeki
Personal details
Born Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
18 July 1918
Mvezo, Umtata (now Mthatha), South Africa
Died 5 December 2013 (aged 95)[1]
Johannesburg, South Africa
Nationality South African
Political party African National Congress
Spouse(s) Evelyn Ntoko Mase (1944–1957)
Winnie Madikizela (1957–1996)
Graça Machel (1998–2013)
Children Madiba Thembekile
Makgatho Lewanika
Makaziwe
Maki
Zenani
Zindziswa
Residence Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, South Africa
Alma mater University of Fort Hare
University of London External System
University of South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand
Religion Christianity (Methodism)[2]
Signature Signature of Nelson Mandela
Website www.nelsonmandela.org
This person won a Nobel Prize
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013)[3] was a South African politician and activist. On April 27, 1994, he was made the first President of South Africa elected in a fully represented democratic election. Mandela was also the first black President of his country.
Mandela was born in Mvezo, South Africa to a Thembu royal family.[4]
His government focused on throwing out the legacy of apartheid by ending racism, poverty, inequality, and on improving racial understanding in South Africa. Politically a believer in socialism, he served as the President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997 and adopted new Constitution of South African in 1996 that prohibits all discrimination, based on language, religion, handicap and sexual orientation, not only on racism. Internationally, Mandela was the Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.
Mandela received more than 250 honors, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Soviet Order of Lenin. He is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, or as Tata ("Father").
Mandela was sick for several years during his retirement. He was hospitalized in late summer of 2013 from a continuous lung infection.[5] Mandela died on 5 December 2013 in Houghton Estate, Johannesburg from the lung infection.[5] He was 95 years old.[5]

Now, May I seek your indulgence dear ER while I reprised some thing olde, but relevant to our interesting -- and strange -- times as the Malaysian Bar Council stated as posted here Yesterday, when all of Desi's troubles seem'd so far away! I quote lots of hippie-era Beatles, sometimes, vey less, also Da Brad-lah!).

As a jouro-blogger, Desi is lucky to enjoy Internet access with bonus Google bonus track to easily Cut&Copy:)~~~so, reprising or my reprsisal on yopu4silentlyCOMPLAINING about Desi's longwindednurse!:)

:*******

I quote from independent.co.uk an old news report from two years ago:~~


'You have to be prepared for a long battle': The second coming of Anwar Ibrahim

He rose to the top, then ended up in jail. Now Malaysia’s opposition leader stands on the verge of a remarkable election victory

He has been arrested and jailed and his reputation repeatedly dragged through the mud, but Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim believes his time has finally come.
On Sunday, Malaysia goes to the polls in what experts have called the closest and most hotly contested election since the country secured independence from Britain 56 years ago.
“All the surveys, including the government of Malaysia’s, have shown we are leading,” Mr Ibrahim told The Independent, speaking by phone from Kuala Lumpur. “But we have to take care to look for bias and fraud in the electoral process. We are appealing to the international community and the media to follow the election very closely.”
The 65-year-old heads the Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance) opposition coalition, which is trying to defeat the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) bloc, which has held power in Malaysia since 1957. He is doing so by highlighting alleged corruption, authoritarianism and laws that favour ethnic Malays over their Indian- and Chinese-origin countrymen and women.
Since independence, the nation has emerged as a success story of economic growth and development (after a brief recession in 2009, its GDP is once again on the rise). It has also avoided the worst of the turmoil that has affected other countries in the region. But critics say it has done so at the cost of human rights, openness and freedom of expression. They also say corruption is rife.
“It’s such an authoritarian system. We need to transform the country into a vibrant democracy,” said Mr Ibrahim. “There is no independent media, we have racist policies. We need to have a more transparent system that recognises the value of all relationships, irrespective of race.”
The veteran opposition leader has been speaking at rallies across the country at which he highlights what he says is widespread nepotism within the government, headed by the British-educated Prime Minister, Najib Razak. He believes the mood in the country suggests the public is ready to back him and he talks of a “Malaysian spring”.
He has also been making repeated claims that the ruling party is engaged in efforts to rig the election; earlier this week he issued a statement claiming the Prime Minister’s office was hiring charter planes to fly in up to 40,000 “ghost voters” from its strongholds to vote in close races elsewhere in the country. A government spokesperson did not respond to The Independent’s request for a comment. Beating the National Front coalition is no easy matter for Mr Ibrahim. It holds 135 of the parliament’s 222 seats, compared with the 75 held by Mr Ibrahim; and ahead of the elections, Mr Razak, the son of one of Malaysia’s founding fathers, has also introduced a series of populist measures designed to win votes. Agence France-Presse recently reported that Mr Razak is also motivated by the knowledge that if he loses the contest, he will likely face a leadership challenge within his own party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).
Opinion polls last month suggested the race was too close to call, or else gave a narrow edge to the ruling party. But a survey published last week, conducted by the University of Malaya’s Centre for Democracy and Elections, suggested the opposition was slightly in the lead.
Should Mr Ibrahim achieve victory, it would represent a remarkable turn-around. In the early 1990s, the son of a hospital porter rose through the ranks of one of the ruling National Front parties to be the protégé of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Widely hailed in the West as a reformist, Mr Ibrahim held a series of government portfolios, including the finance ministry, before being appointed deputy prime minister in 1998. But the two men, who had been described as being like father and son, fell out over Mr Ibrahim’s repeated calls for reform.
Sacked from office, he was then accused of sodomy, which remains a crime in Malaysia. The allegations were contained within a book – 50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become Prime Minister – written by the editor of a government-controlled newspaper. Despite many seeing them as politically motivated, Mr Ibrahim spent six years in jail. He was released in 2004. In 2008, the opposition leader challenged the government at the polls, for the first time threatening its simple majority. In the aftermath of that election, fresh allegations of sodomy were made, this time by a former aide. Mr Ibrahim again insisted he was innocent, and in January 2012, following a trial that lasted two years, he was acquitted.
The opposition leader said the time he spent in jail had not been easy. “After I was released in 2004, I was invited by Nelson Mandela to spend time in Johannesburg,” he said. “I joked that my release had been a ‘short walk to freedom’ [a reference to the title of Mr Mandela’s autobiography]. We have faith and conviction that the country can be freed from authoritarian rule and the economy can be changed to serve the country and the masses.
“Of course, at times, during solitary confinement you think about your wife and family,” he said. “And you think that there might be other options and the political leadership might be more open too. But the fact is that if you want to dismantle a country’s system, they are not going to give up power easily. You have to be prepared – it’s a long battle.”
Dr Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, head of the Malaysia programme at Singapore’s S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said he believed Mr Ibrahim could tap into growing public dissatisfaction about corruption and “crony capitalism”.
He said his coalition would also draw support from ethnic Indians and Chinese fed up with what they see as inequalities, such as reservation of university places for ethnic Malays. And yet, he said, should Mr Ibrahim lead the opposition coalition to victory at the weekend, it would represent nothing less than a remarkable achievement. “To come back once from a political death is remarkable, but to come back two times would be a feat very few leaders have achieved,” he said. “It’s amazing. No one would have thought that prior to 2008, Anwar Ibrahim could be the next prime minister of the country.”


DESIDERATA: The highlights in red are all done by this scribe for they ease of reading -- see how I pamper my lazy BUMmer readers! -- to plug the point that byt jailing the Oppoistion Leader for the THIRD TIME, they have made Anwar Ibrahim a MARTYR like Mandela. So we will be patient and emulate the stroing-willed Anwar so that he will emerge eventually to wield the power that UMNOputras feared, fear and will continue to fear. as former Bar Council and later as BERSIH chief Datuk Ambiga Sreneevasan said, Anwar will be even more dangerous to the UMNO kingpins in prison than outside. To these UMNO rules-benders, Desi ends with a greAting: "MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTIN G TIMES!"