Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Anwar the 'Snitch': Let the Games Begin

So there you have it. Our infamous Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar now expects us to believe that Anwar Ibrahim is a ‘snitch’ (tukang lapor) of the United States [see Malaysiakini]. It didn’t take long for the propaganda machine to get rolling again now did it? Not only are we seeing the replay of an old record with the concoction of another ploy to distract the public from the flawed, ineffective and floundering UMNO-led regime, we also now see the usual anti-U.S. rhetoric being deployed. Why do you suppose that is? I suspect there has to be a huge segment of the population out there that sees right through the good minister’s comments, such as: ‘Every time something happens, he [Anwar Ibrahim] reports to the U.S.’

I for one was not the least bit surprised about these high profile public comments from within the regime. Actually, in a commentary last week, ‘Desperate Times and Desperate Measures' [which appeared on Malaysia-Today], I noted the following, in contrast to the last time we had trumped-up charges against Anwar: ‘This time, maybe we won’t be subjected to a kind of public relations and farce where the government would parade a mattress being transported to court each day as it did during Anwar’s last trial. But mind you, don’t rule out some other well-choreographed theatrics. In fact you can most certainly count on it.’

Indeed, I’m sure there is much more by way of ‘well-choreographed theatrics’ yet to come. This early salvo is merely that – signaling the beginning stage of a rather protracted season of theatrics related to the most recent round to derail the ‘Anwar Ibrahim Express.’ So by now I’m certain you’ve already ascertained that I’m not writing this column to be complimentary of the Home Minister for his comments regarding Anwar. Well, surely you did not expect me to? Mind you, this is the same cabinet member whose ministry apparently, according to the Foreign Minister Rais Yatim [see Malaysiakini], had signed on to the [let’s see, how shall I put this…] ‘creative’ idea of requiring Malaysian women to carry a permission letter from their employer or family when traveling abroad in order to curb criminal activity.

Now our good minister also goes on to comment as follows about the present Anwar case: ‘Let the police do their job (first), only then it will be fair for us to conclude it in whatever way’. ‘Fair’! Did the minister use that four-letter word? Well, given that he brought it up, lets just give this a little more thought, shall we? So this statement by Syed Hamid got me wondering, and I wish a reporter at the briefing would have inquired the following from the minister: Should this investigation of the ‘snitch’ be overseen by the same police chief and attorney-general’s office that oversaw the last Anwar investigation? Or, should we first commence with an investigation of the alleged fabrication of evidence case by the police and government authorities before we ‘let the police do their job’ in this instance? Now surely, as you can see, and I would hope the good minister himself would appreciate, why this might be especially pertinent. After all, we’re being asked to have faith in the integrity and credibility of the process, are we not? Does that relate to being ‘fair,’ Mr. Home Minister? But I don’t suppose it really warrants consideration for the good minister that the rakyat has no confidence in the fact that the investigative bodies are operating independent of political influence by the regime.

Although it should be about fairness and justice, it never really does come to that, does it? The rule-makers typically convince – or deceive – themselves that their unfairness is indeed ‘fair.’ However, the rest of us have the option of playing the game by the rules of rule-makers or making sure we’re not lulled into believing that the rules of the game are fair when they are far from it. Let the games begin.

G. Krishnan