I am writing this before the court hands down its verdict on 10 February 2015 in the case between the Government of Malaysia and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
What is now commonly referred to as the Sodomy 2 case involves the Government’s prosecution of Anwar for his allegedly homosexual activities with one Saiful Bahari in 2008. Many of us are fed up that so much of the country’s time and resources (Anwar’s legal woes have dragged on for 17 years now) have been spent on trying to prove that Anwar is a homosexual.
In this Islamic country, no one has been prosecuted for this offence except Anwar. Why has there been no one sent to jail for this offence since Merdeka? The only conclusion is that the Government is so afraid of Anwar and his friends in the Pakatan Rakyat that they need to put him behind bars. Commentators somehow like to ignore this point, as I have mentioned before.
One aspect to this case that is deeply troubling is the mandatory jail sentence that the judges will have to impose if they find him guilty. It’s harsh and cruel to send a man—and old man at that—to jail for at least five years for a sexual conduct. Parliament should take out the mandatory period prescribed in the Penal Code and leave the sentencing to the wisdom of the trial judge.
If Parliament has a bigger appetite for change, then they should repeal section 377A altogether. It’s just a matter of time before another political opponent is prosecuted and sent to jail for offences “against the order of nature”, if this provision remains. This section, which includes many sexual activities even the top guys in Putrajaya probably find irresistible and indulge in, is totally archaic and should be repealed, in line with other modern countries.
Anwar’s speech in Permatang Pauh on Saturday 8 February reminding Muslims and Malays about the dangers of extremism was both timely and true. Even if they incarcerate him, do not despair. There is no one who can replace his charisma, but there are many who will not abandon the struggle he has led. Although the present Government have maligned him and managed to convince some Malays—including those in PAS—about the “dangers” of his leadership, I believe there will be many more who will see no alternative to UMNO’s destructive hegemony, except through the political beliefs that Anwar has started. Even if he is imprisoned, his friends in the Pakatan as well as those outside the political framework will collectively shoulder the task of rebuilding our now tattered country.
In the end, it matters little whether Anwar goes to jail or not, except to himself and his family. The fascists have not succeeded anywhere, although they were able to inflict much harm and caused loss of lives. The human spirit and its quest for justice and fairness for all is a much stronger force than the clever lies of the racists and religious bigots. No amount of falsehood and propaganda, whether couched in racial or religious terms, can ultimately divide this country for ever. Malaya and now Malaysia has tasted the wonders of unity and harmony, albeit in relatively short spells, but the people want to be united again.
Your message and your dream have broken the barrier erected by your erstwhile colleagues in UMNO and they will not be able to resist it for much longer. Time will bring to fruition a united and happier Malaysia once again.