Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ironies and Coincidences

I know it might sound old fashion to many of the cynics among you who question the UMNO regime’s motives with respect to the re-play of the sodomy charge against Anwar Ibrahim. Nevertheless, I must admit, I struggle with these conspiracy claims that seem to more easily appeal to some of you cynics and sceptics of [not to mention also those really disgusted by] the regime.

You see, one of the several [perhaps self-evident] problems with claims of a conspiracy is that it requires all those presumably implicated or in cahoots to secretly conform to a script and agenda and that is practically impossible to proof. Now, I’m willing to concede the point that this is precisely one very good reason why conspiracies can be rather effective. But you see in general, conspiracies also leave open the potential for too many things to go wrong, and therefore, this makes conspiracies – by nature - very unstable and problematic. The plan can easily go astray and unravel. I know, if you’re one of those who ‘smells a rat’ in this whole rehashed-up Anwar sex-scandal matter, you will probably say, ‘but that problem never stopped politicians from implementing bad strategies!’ Well, I concede that you do have a point again.

Nonetheless, ponder the following. Back in the good days of the 1990s, this is when Anwar was the Mahathir regime’s ‘boy-wonder,’ did we hear rumours and whispers about Anwar’s alleged extra-martial sexual escapades? Then the cosy Mahathir-Anwar alliance turned sour. Was Anwar perceived by the inner-inner sanctum of UMNO as too ambitious and too independent? Was he trying to spread his wings a bit too soon? Were his ideas out of line with those of his political boss? At any rate, one fine morning in September 1998, we wake up and find that our DPM has been fired. Shortly thereafter, the word ‘sodomy’ becomes part of our political theatre. You cynics can think what you want; I say it was mere coincidence.

When the country saw pictures of Anwar with a big golf-ball size black-eye, ironically, those who had direct custody and access to him had no idea how he got that way. Well, you know as I recall, it was suggested to us that Anwar – being the kind of person he is – could have self-inflicted the wound. But this rhetoric aside, the point remains that I don’t think there was any conspiracy that some people were covering up what happened. At worst, it was just coincidence that while in police custody he ended up looking like he did.

It is also merely ironic that after six years in prison and with his sodomy conviction overturned, Anwar found himself in the political wilderness while UMNO reigned supreme – glowing in the aftermath of the 2004 elections. Now significantly older, did this ex-finance minister and ex-DPM really have the endurance to take on his former party and the regime? Many thought he was washed up. He didn’t think so.

Unable to stand for elections until his ban to hold public office ran out, Anwar, far from content to sit in the sidelines of the rough and tumble of Malaysian politics, seemed to be rebuilding his base, picking up momentum for his new found party and helping build an opposition coalition by putting his imprint on that process. Fast-forward to 2008 and the prime minister dissolves parliament in February to pave the way for fresh general election in March. But wait, I know. I can hear you all again saying: ‘See, BN clearly ‘conspired’ to plan the elections for March so as to preclude Anwar – whose ban was to expire in April – from being able to personally contest in the elections.’ Hmm…I say, how ironic…mere coincidence. Nothing more.

I suspect rather than what you think, the BN big wigs and strategists probably analysed all the intricate details about planning the elections and felt the weather in early March would be more conducive to their chances of winning the most seats and voter turnout would be most favourable in March – as compared to April. So you see, there were probably such perfectly sensible reasons and nothing at all to do with Anwar’s eligibility – or the lack thereof – that the elections were slated for March and not April. Seems odd to you? No, way! Yes, you might think that UMNO was now feeling good and licking their chops about having succeeded at frustrating any political comeback by a now sixty year-old Anwar. And what a comeback that would have been, right? But nothing like that had to do with the scheduling of the March elections. As I said, mere coincidence lah!

Well, low and behold! The UMNO regime loses control of five state governments and takes a serious battering in many parliament races. Now it was evident that Anwar and his coalition had some serious political momentum on their side. Rumour had it that he might contest in a by-election in an opposition friendly constituency and return to parliament in the near future. What’s more, there was some anxiety in some circles that several BN members of parliament were likely to switch allegiances and the BN regime could be facing a perilous eventuality. So, it was time to pull the plug on the ‘Anwar Ibrahim Express.’ But how? Well, well, now you tell me there was already a ‘set-up’ in the works with one character named Saiful who happens to come forward right about the time that the groundwork was being laid for Anwar to attempt a return to elected office and to possibly orchestrate a change in government! But, don’t you see, it’s just another coincidence.

You cynical types again dwelling on the fact that there didn’t seem to be any sexual impropriety apparent on Anwar’s part between the time he was released from prison in 2004 until 2008. But somehow, just when this seemingly washed-up ex-minister finds himself on the verge of a miraculous political comeback, the sodomy smear campaign resurfaces. Well, what can I say? I’ll admit…it is quite ironic and curious.

Oh, yes, and this young man who is Anwar’s accuser in this latest episode did apparently have contact with staff at the current DPM’s office. What’s more, the DPM admits having met and talked with this accuser prior to a police report being lodged by the latter against Anwar for allegedly sodomising him. But the DPM has already volunteered the fact that he met this alleged victim to merely listen to and console him as he was clearly distressed. Now, wasn’t that the decent thing for the DPM to do? After all, our leaders are here to be a shoulder for us to cry on when we’re in need and distraught. Why must you cynical types infer anything else from this? Yes, can’t these events also, like all the previous ones, be mere coincidences?

Now I can understand that it might seem rather ironic for there to be several of these coincidences happening, but so what? Besides, our government has assured us there is no ‘conspiracy’ against Anwar. And have we seen a shred of evidence to so suggest otherwise? You see! All of the above can be easily explained away as coincidences…like magic, they just happen to lead to one outcome.

But I don’t suppose I convinced you, did I?

G. Krishnan