Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Anwar acquittal: Barisan wins

Now that Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been acquitted on the charge of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, many opinions have been expressed on who the winner really is.

Anwar's supporters quickly said that he is the winner as he had said all along that he was an innocent victim of political conspiracy involving Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was then the Deputy Prime Minister.

But I put forward a contrarian view that the Barisan Nasional government is the actual winner.

Everybody had expected the courts to be 'instructed' by its political masters to find Anwar guilty, and the surprising acquittal has actually given the image of the judiciary a boost.

And the political masters have been quick to turn a legal loss to a political victory - Prime Minister Najib and former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad have immediately stated that the acquittal simply shows that the judiciary is truly independent and the executive (i.e. the political masters) does not meddle around with the judges.

Anwar's acquittal also means he can stand in the coming general elections - thus it deprives the Opposition of the opportunity to hammer the Barisan government for conspiring to lock Anwar up to prevent him from being a potential Prime Minister.

His acquittal actually removes at least two bullets from the anti-Barisan arsenal of Pakatan.

Of course there is another possible conclusion to this sodomy charge - the prosecution appeals, the hearing is held after the elections (when Anwar presumably gets elected as MP) and the higher court overturns the verdict made by the lower court. Hmmm, maybe that was the original intention of the Barisan strategists in the first place?