Eeerrrr…..my pent up feelings on this whole Anwar Ibrahim fiasco is boiling over as I am exhausted from taking care of my mum in hospital. Alhamdullilah she has been discharged and is now convalescent at home. I tell you trying to sleep on a chair by her bedside for nearly two weeks does havoc on your physical and mental health. My personal aches and pains aside, my mental anguish is compounded further by this never ending slugfest in the media and cyberspace centred around who else – DSAI. I can’t escape even in hospital because everyone is talking about it, from the taxi drivers to patients and their visitors and even to the doctors and nurses themselves, especially with the medical checkup of the protoganists of this latest saga right there on the premises! And I heard some good ones mind you! Who cares what stupid stuff government topplers and takeovers obsessed souls post on the internet!
Now that I’ve had a good night’s sleep and am eating decent food with some taste again, I am catching up on why the hell is the United States so interested in DSAI? I blogged my wonderment before here and my incredulity grows with the recent statements made by some prominent US politicians. I mean whoa,…. no Muslim politician in the world ever got this much “positive” support in favour of one individual to the detriment of the country’s freely elected government of the day! Having been a journalist, I wasn’t satisfied with the press, mainstream or otherwise, interpretation of the statements but when I was in hospital tending to mum’s needs I didn’t have a chance to go look up the real story. Much as I hate politics, all this ruckus has made it impossible for anyone, whether you are a citizen or not, not to worry about what the hell is going on in this country!
This recent article by James Hookway in the Wall Street Journal “In Malaysian Politics, Fighting Dirty is the Norm” really puts Malaysian politics on a new plateau of sleaze. Sodomy allegations aside, this particular point Hookway raised really strikes home and something I have always wondered myself
Mr. Anwar was in the National Front government himself for 16 years in the 1980s and 1990s and backed many of the policies he now criticizes.
Unlike the idealistic youth of today so enarmoured by the utopia promised by DSAI and his brand of politics, I am concerned with this undue interest in Malaysia from such a powerful nation as the US. I mean, what the hell is the big deal about a small country with 27 million people and majority Muslim at that? If we believe the politicians and the excitable media, it would seem like people here in this backwoods country have nothing better to do than persecute, suppress, oppress and repress for any darned reason. It would seem the imaginative media, conventional or alternative, are bent on a political collision course, even if it is just in their written pages. Having witnessed Tun M’s powerful stance in defence of Malaysia against disrespectful foreign countries, I always felt we Malaysians could conquer the world. After all, we scaled the highest mountain, sailed the seven seas and even sent a man into space. What can’t we not do? Suddenly to have one politician capture the sympathies of the United States is more worrying than flattering. I certainly do not want any Malaysian Prime Minister kow-towing to any foreign power whose sympathy lies not with Islam. Really, if DSAI is so important to the US, I hope they will consider adopting him. Frankly, DSAI’s stature has grown far too big for this puny country. Sodomy allegations aside, just read the comments by DSAI friends so far.
Well, on Condaleezza Rice, she was just responding to a question posed by a Malaysian representative at this roundtable discussion in Singapore and an excerpt of the transcript of the press briefing below. Frankly, she sounded pretty respectful. It seems the worry was more a criticism of past handling of the case but what the hell, I am wondering why human rights get dragged in whenever it is about some other country than the US of A?:
QUESTION: I’m from Malaysia, so I hopefully (inaudible), I support this relations, (inaudible) sense that the U.S. has been interfering with domestic criminal case of — from Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. So Washington seems to make (inaudible) remarks against the case. To us, Malaysia – it’s just local, domestic, criminal case.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the United States has long spoken and will continue to speak about cases that we think need to be thought about in terms of the political circumstances. We are always going to speak about human rights cases, about political cases. But again, we do so in a spirit of respect for Malaysia, and it’s — the United States doesn’t recognize this very firm barrier, but there are certain things that are simply internal affairs when a case of this kind comes up. But we’re going to continue to work with the Malaysian Government. And I’m going to see my Malaysian counterpart in a little bit.
QUESTION: But Mr. Anwar is going through all the local due process of law.
SECRETARY RICE: And we look for — one of the things that we’ve said is that we want to see a transparent and — rule of law to be completely followed here, and that part of the comfort level or the confidence that states need to bring to the international system is that their systems are — their judicial systems are, indeed, responsive to rule of law and transparent and fair. That’s been (inaudible).
QUESTION: But you must remember the — our police and our —
SECRETARY RICE: I think I’ve answered your question.
QUESTION: Majority of them are trained by the Americans and the British.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, yes.
SECRETARY RICE: No, no — but the evenhanded application of rule of law is very important.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Mm-hmm.
Of course, the “Letter of Support” (LoS) from some old friends that really tells how influential the man is. Considering Tun M refused to take IMF handouts during troubled economic times brought on by the global financial crisis, this letter sends shivers down my spine. Seriously, the spectre of my beloved country being mortgaged to foreign super powers suddenly looms in the horizon. When you are indebted to anyone, they call the shots!!!
NEW YORK, July 24, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The following Communique is sent to you for immediate release:
As many of those who have had the privilege to work with him or under his leadership in international institutions, we have heard with deep concern the charges filed against the honorable Datuk Seri Dr. Anwar Ibrahim, in spite of the fact that similar unsubstantiated charges filed ten years ago against him were overturned by the Supreme Court.
We would like, in such circumstances, to reiterate our full confidence in his moral integrity, as a man who has demonstrated, in the discharge of his national and international responsibilities, the highest ethical standards of leadership, fighting for international justice, peace and development.
We want also to express our confidence that whatever the present political circumstances, the Government of Malaysia will exert a particular restraint in the handling of this case and will demonstrate, by dropping the charges introduced against Dr. Anwar Ibrahim, an exemplary sense of respect for the rights of the individual which are so important to the international standing of Malaysia.
— Paul Martin, Former Prime Minister of Canada and former Chairman of the G20
— Michel Camdessus, Former Managing Director and Chairman of the Board of the International Monetary Fund
— James Wolfensohn, Former President of the World Bank
SOURCE Paul Martin; Michel Camdessus; James Wolfensohn
What I found even more intriguing is that handsome Senator Joseph Biden from Delaware who, as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has pointedly dragged Tun M’s name into the fray with the following statement that shows American political posturing at its best!:
BIDEN Issues Statement on the Arrest of Malaysian Leader Anwar Ibrahim
July 17, 2008
Washington, DC – Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) issued the following statement today on the arrest of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim:
“I am shocked and disheartened by the arrest yesterday of Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. This action appears to be motivated by political considerations: it comes less than a day after Mr. Anwar’s announcement of his intention to stand for election to Parliament, and three months after Mr. Anwar’s party made the strongest electoral showing by an opposition party in Malaysian history.
“The charges against Mr. Anwar closely mirror those levied against him in 1998: then, too, politically-motivated allegations were made against Mr. Anwar at the precise moment when he seemed poised to challenge a sitting Prime Minister. He spent six years in prison before a court finally overturned his conviction.
“A decade ago, the spectacle of Mr. Anwar’s mistreatment and imprisonment on transparently political grounds greatly discredited Malaysia in the eyes of the world community. The action tarnished the reputation of then-Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad. I certainly hope that the current Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi, does not repeat the mistakes of the past. I urge him to drop this political attack on a respected opposition figure, and commit himself to rule of law and good governance in Malaysia.”