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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sex video: Court has debased itself

Is Umno so blind that it cannot see that 'people are willing to discount the personal foibles of Anwar Ibrahim', preferring to focus on weightier issues that are being fought for?

COMMENT

Umno people don’t seem to get the point. They think they can solve Umno’s woes and problems by locking Anwar Ibrahim away.

When Anwar goes in, how will Umno justify its relevance and keep alive?

It has to go on searching for new scandals and some sordid history. It moves on in its political life not by uplifting others but by thriving on fighting some distracting issues.

We read news reports that the court had stated its right to view the screening of the video purportedly showing Anwar in some sexual tryst.

The court then went on to allow the lawyers representing the infamous trio – Shazryl Eskay Abdullah, Shuib Lasim and former Malacca chief minister Rahim Tamby Chik – to triumphantly declare what they claimed some experts in America had said, which is that the actor in the video was indeed Anwar.

The court should have disallowed that story telling by the lawyers because we didn’t hear it directly from the so-called experts.

We heard from a third party and so by definition, it is hearsay.

Why not put the experts on the stand and subject them to some hard questioning?

By doing what it did, what did the court and the judicial system show to Malaysians and the rest of the world?

Political ends

It showed that we are at the mercy of the judicial system, its practitioners and that we stand no chance at all at getting merciful treatment from the system.

The trial judge has jeopardised the Malaysian judicial system by allowing irrelevant storytelling to be addressed in open court.

This is what scares the Malaysian public and the international community about the judicial system in Malaysia.

The court in allowing the screening and the accompanying elaboration by lawyers appearing for the trio is showing to the world it “prostitutes itself as the platform” for interested parties to pontificate about political ends.

Hence Rahim, who is the leader of the pack, triumphantly declared, “mission accomplished!”

What mission is Rahim talking about? What has the Umno that Onn Jaffar set up, and inspired the first-generation leaders, turned into?

Truth be told, Onn Jaffar’s Umno has turned into a behemoth focused primarily on bullying others.

The old Umno legitimised itself by fighting for noble causes. The old Umno fought against the colonial government, fought for independence, committed itself to social engineering, eradication of poverty and of course ensuring Malays deserved their place in the scheme of things.

Morally disqualified

The old Umno did not legitimise itself by profiteering on the issue of pornography. That’s more appropriately taken up by a small moral organisation as an issue.

Umno should not legitimise its existence and its relevance by committing its resources and time to proving Anwar IS the porn actor.

The issue is not whether Anwar is or isn’t the actor in the pornographic video clip.

He may very well be the person. I have written before that Anwar has to answer to himself, his family members and to all those who had faith in him.

I doubt very much that those who banked hopes on him will be persuaded to abandon him now despite the video scandal.

They will stick by him on the principle of loyalty.

Suppose the man in the said video, produced by the trio, is actually Anwar, then what was the mission that Rahim had accomplished?

All it does is prove that Anwar can be morally disqualified from becoming the prime minister.

Country poorly managed

So if the mission is to stop Anwar from becoming prime minister, then perhaps the personal agenda of Rahim is accomplished.

But please don’t pontificate that you are doing all this, to save Malaysia.

WE save Malaysia, not YOU. The irony is, we can do it without you.

Having proven this, it doesn’t however prove that Umno is pristine. Umno is also full of Anwar characters too.

You take on a moral issue and people will come and challenge you on your morals.

You still have to answer for your record as a government and the general feeling now is that this country isn’t properly managed.

You may think that you have proven Anwar to be morally unfit but you have not exonerated Umno. People perceive the wrongs as being done by Umno.

The rationalisation has already begun.

Anwar isn’t any more morally depraved than many Barisan Nasional leaders who do the same activities but more voraciously.

Anwar isn’t the only person of notable repute alleged to inhabit the bi-sexual world.

Guilty plea

At least two other serving Umno ministers are whispered to have the same sexual preferences.

The more troubling thing about this case is that people are willing to discount the personal foibles of Anwar, preferring to value more weightier issues being fought for.

Let us be clear about the terms of reference for the court on that fateful Friday.

It was to give judgment on the act committed by the trio of wasted material.

On that day, the Attorney-General’s Chambers decided to charge the trio with possessing lewd, obscene or pornographic material.

Shazryl and Shuib pleaded guilty to openly screening the sex video between a man and a woman. Rahim pleaded guilty to abetting them.

Shazryl and Shuib were charged under Section 292 (A) of Penal Code (Act 574) and punishable under Section 292 of Penal Code.

The charge read together with Section 34 of Penal Code carries a three years’ imprisonment or a fine or both upon convictions.

But instead of focusing on the charges, the court became a forum of sorts when it allowed the revelation that two US experts from Dartmouth College had confirmed that the video was authentic and that there was a 99.99% possibility the man in the video was Anwar.

No justice

How was this relevant when the court had set out to give judgment on a charge of possession of pornographic materials?

This is what Umno doesn’t understand.

People will now be terrified at the dispensing of justice in Malaysia.

We didn’t see justice in court but can now be convinced that the court is debasing itself as a pliant tool by allowing the accused to drag in a third party who was somehow judged without giving him a chance to defend himself.

Whose side is the court on?

The authenticity of the video was completely irrelevant to the case as its “authenticity” was relayed through a third party and wasn’t even contested.

What is worrying is that the court has allowed it to be used by certain quarters for unlawful and unjust purposes.

The writer, a former Umno elected rep, is an FMT columnist.

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