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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Running around the circles of political intrigue...

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

... and getting nowhere fast.

To cut to the chase, this post is related to the developments surrounding Anwar Ibrahim, and the second round of sodomy allegations. The plot, like gravy left on the stove long enough, thickens. As Walski mentioned, in passing, at the end of his previous post, when it comes to politics, the real truth is something that's difficult to get to.

Image taken from Malaysiakini, hosting by PhotobucketThere are n+1 sides to every story. One each told by the n parties involved in the story, and then you have the truth. Who's telling the truth, in a given person's opinion, will depend heavily on which side of the political divide his/her sensibility lies. In most cases, the real truth lies somewhere in between the claims of the parties involved - the rarely spoken-of +1 in the equation.

Having gotten that bit out of the way, let us look what surrounds the current allegations of sodomy that have been levelled at Anwar Ibrahim.

Fact: Ever since his release from incarceration, Anwar has been very active in Malaysian politics, and the only reason he did not run in the recent March 8th General Elections was because he couldn't. Not until April 14th, anyway.

Fact: Anwar's earlier conviction of sodomy was overturned by the Federal Court in 2004, primarily because the evidence presented by the prosecution was dodgy, and because the prosecution did not manage to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt (source: BBC News).

Fact: Since the March 8th General Elections, Anwar Ibrahim has been a constant thorn in the Barisan Nasional's side for casting a shadow on the longevity BN's simple majority, hence the ability of BN to remain in power. Allusions of defections of sufficient BN MPs has been ongoing, causing the BN leadership to be jittery.

Opinion: BN's credibility is currently at an all-time low. This may be Walski's own opinion, but he believes it is an opinion shared by many. It is also Walski's opinion that because of this, BN could be forced resort to desperate measures.

Fact: Enter into the picture one Saiful Bukhari Azlan , the aide whom on Saturday filed a police report against Anwar Ibrahim, alleging that the PKR de facto leader sodomized him. PKR alleges that Saiful was arrested and coerced to make the report, an allegation the police has refuted.

Question 1: Who is Saiful Bukhari Azlan?
(the answer, and the possibilities, in the full post)

Answer 1 Part #1:
What we know from the press reports is that Saiful Bukhari Azlan is (or was, currently) a special aide to Anwar Ibrahim - this is already common knowledge, at present. Saiful became Anwar's personal aide after the March 8th General Elections, more or less taking over from Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who was elected Selangor state representative for Seri Setia.

Answer 1 Part #2:
From a blog called Riwayat Hayat, we also know that Saiful Bukhari Azlan was, during the 2006/2007 session, Deputy President of the Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) Students Representative Council. According to the blog's author, Saiful's leadership left much to be desired. Saiful also had a blog, which is apparently now defunct. But all that is beside the point. The most interesting thing we get out of this particular blog is this picture.

Image hosting by PhotobucketSaiful Bukhari Azlan (left) & Khairil Annas Jusoh (right)
(source: Riwayat Hayat blog)

Question 2: Who is Khairil Annas Jusoh?

Answer 2: He is special aide to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. The following excerpt (from The Khairy Chronicles) puts Khairil's role as aide into perspective.

Najib began to develop parallel young talents in his office, in direct competition to Khairy’s boys. He chose Khairil Annas Yusof, an IIUM and Oxford law graduate with an ABIM background (and therefore diametrically opposed to Khairy’s worldview) as an additional Special Officer. Najib also began to reduce Omar Ong’s role in writing his speeches and relied more and more on Khairil Annas. Khairil Annas also began to train Najib and help him improve his Malay speaking talents, including the use of rhetoric and gestures, something out of sync with Najib’s previous character.
(source: Khairy Chronicles Part 5)

Okay, the name seems to be a little different, but there seems to be little doubt in most people's minds that both refer to the same person.

How do the two know each other? Walski doesn't know, truth be told. Perhaps it was via Saiful's activity as student leader at UNITEN. But other pictures of Saiful Bukhari Azlan have surfaced (via Malaysia-Today), showing him with a number of other UMNO politicians.

The speculation is that Saiful Bukhari Azlan is a mole planted within Anwar Ibrahim's camp, as alluded to by the Malaysia-Today post on which the pictures were published. Apparently, the plant was known as early as March 12th, just after the General Elections.

Of course, Saiful could be nothing more than a glamor-seeking poser who gets off on being photographed with the who's who of Malaysian mainstream politics. And quite frankly, he seems to have quite a collection.

Question #3:
But why, if it was known as early as then that the guy was a plant, was Saiful allowed to remain as an aide to Anwar?


Question #4:
Is what we're seeing a tit-for-tat response to RPK's statutory declaration, which many have found to be equally far-fetched (if not more)?

The last two questions are also being asked by some, including Walski's blogging buddy KTemoc. While KTemoc is known to be very critical of Anwar Ibrahim, the criticisms are from the latter's performance as a politician, and not on a personal basis. In Kaytee's own words:

"And to conclude, I don’t believe in the sodomy allegations against Anwar Ibrahim in the same manner that I don’t believe in the contents of RPK’s Statutory Declaration."
(source: Ktemoc Konsiders)

Meanwhile, it appears that Anwar Ibrahim has now sought refuge in the Turkish embassy, which if nothing else, adds to the melodrama of the entire incident. But it does do one other thing: bring the whole thing to an international level of visibility. Anwar, earlier today, issued a statement as to why (via PKR's website, and subsequently picked up by Malaysiakini).

I am issuing this statement from within the embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Kuala Lumpur. I was transported to the embassy earlier this morning fearing that my personal safety was in danger. I thank all those who offered to assist me in this time of need and am grateful to the Turkish Ambassador for extending an invitation to seek refuge within the Embassy.

Since the March 8th elections, numerous credible sources from within the government and military intelligence have advised me that certain agents from within Barisan Nasional leadership have initiated plots to cause harm to me or my family or my supporters. I have been told that my assassination has not been ruled out as means to subvert the people’s will and bring an end to the transformational changes taking place in Malaysia. Notwithstanding the threats which are intended to silence my voice, I intend make public new evidence implicating that the Inspector General of the Police Musa Hassan and the Attorney General Gani Patail engaged in criminal acts of fabricating evidence in cases launched against me in 1998.

The allegations that have been made against me on Saturday are nothing more than a replay of the events which transpired in 1998 when I was sacked from the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, jailed and beaten, and then charged and convicted by a kangaroo court for crimes which I never committed. This charade was orchestrated by a corrupt Barisan Nasional leadership which made use of the entire apparatus of the state power including its control of the judiciary, the police force, and its grip on the mainstream media. These actions are being repeated today to undermine the forces of reform and renewal which were unleashed in the March 2008 elections.

I would like to assure my family, friends and supporters in Malaysia that I am safe and remain committed as ever before to continuing the struggle for a free and just Malaysia.

(source: PKR website)

So, since the above up to this point, is Walski pretty much rehashing what's been reported elsewhere, you might be wondering what's Walski's take on all this.

Let's just say that Walski can think of a few possibilities.

Possibility #1:
All this is a political melodrama tit-for-tat. Walski, up until now, has not commented on the Statutory Declaration made by Raja Petra Kamaruddin. Needless to say, without any concrete evidence to back it up, RPK's SD is quite far-fetched. And Walski is not alone in thinking this. Walski will not, however, go as far to say that RPK made the whole thing up - merely, that without proof, it's one man's word against another (many others, in fact). Then again, Pete's shown the proof of other allegations in the past - it could also be a chess game, on RPK's part, who's biding for time before the checkmate move. With RPK, you can never really tell for sure.

Possibility #2:
That this is certain high-ranking people in BN orchestrating moves to eliminate Anwar Ibrahim from the Malaysian political landscape. Now, the problem Walski has with this scenario is: can BN really be that stupid? Nothing is impossible, of course, and there is evidence to suggest this possibility - like the current IGP and Attorney General both being involved with the earlier conviction of Anwar on sodomy charges, which were subsequently overturned in 2004. And Anwar says that he will release the proof of the 1998 collusion, which adds to the plausibility of this scenario. Unless BN is in terminal denial, however, pulling this stunt off now is going to further hurt BN's credibility, which in Walski's opinion, is at an all-time low. It's another attempt at political suicide if that were the case.

Possibility #3:
The real truth lies somewhere in-between. And this, to Walski, is the most plausible explanation, at this juncture. To paraphrase what Kaytee's said in the post quoted above, there's simply been too much bullshit slung in all directions lately to discern the truth anymore - the multitudity of pungent odors just clouds the mind. And nose.

Needless to say, the situation we have before us is, to put it mildly, interesting and intriguing. If Anwar says he has to goods to prove the collusion 1998, now would probably be a good time to make it public.

And by the way, up until now, we're still waiting for those BN defections, another thing that Anwar has been talking a lot about in recent times.

Incidentally, Helen Ang, frequent contributor to The People's Parliament, has proposed an interesting scenario about the possible defactions of minor BN component parties - they could go independent of both BN and the People's Coalition (Pakatan Rakyat). So, if this scenario does happen, Anwar's prognostication of BN losing the right to form government, indirectly, would come true.

Which leaves us with the evidence that Anwar says he has, and intends to release. The Lingam Tapes created quite a few ripples - what sort of big splash can we expect with the next promised revelation?

Until then, all Walski can say is that we definitely are living in interesting times... where change is the only constant, and uncertainty the only thing we can be sure of.