After a two-year trial, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was found not guilty yesterday by a Malaysian court on the charge of sodomising his one-time aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan. The verdict came as a surprise as many (including me) had suspected that the Malaysian government would do all it could to ensure a guilty verdict.
Anwar had said from the outset that his trial was a conspiracy by the Malaysian government to prevent him from contesting the coming General Elections in Malaysia. With this verdict, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed wasted no time in proclaiming that the innocent verdict proves that there was no government conspiracy against Anwar.
Unfortunately for the 2 men, no one will believe them. Now I don’t know for sure if the trial was a government conspiracy against Anwar but sometimes perception triumphs the truth and the perception that there is a government conspiracy against Anwar is so heavy I have no idea how the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) would change that.
Frankly, the Malaysian government can only blame themselves for this situation. The case against Anwar was so weak it should have never gone to trial in the first place. The idea that a 60+ man in poor health like Anwar would be able to force a 20+ young man like Mohd Saiful to have sex is so ridiculous the case should have been thrown out a long time ago. The fact that the trial actually lasted 2 years is a joke!
What’s worse for the Malaysian government is that after the verdict, a rally by Anwar supporters was cut short by 2 small explosions. The preliminary police investigation found that the two explosive devices were placed under police cones in the carpark outside of the courthouse. Under police cones! You can’t get any more obvious than that can you?
So if PM Najib believes that the BN would get a boost from the innocent verdict, he is sorely mistaken. If anything, Anwar's acquittal would probably give his supporters a lift and allows Anwar to attack BN with the charge that his trial was politically motivated.
In short, PM Najib and the Malaysian government may have hurt Anwar with the trial but they came out of the whole saga a lot, lot worse! Advantage: Anwar!