Friday, May 1, 2015

Permatang Pauh Revisited (Yet Again)

Anwar Ibrahim plays the crowd like a maestro at the Kelana Jaya Stadium, 6 July 2008 (photo by TV Smith)

I salute and thank Sessions Court judge S.M. Komathy Suppiah for releasing Anwar Ibrahim on a personal bond of RM20,000 this morning after recording his plea of innocence. From all reports, the judge performed her duty fairly, honorably, and with all the courtesy due to a Prime Minister elect. There is a glimmer of hope yet in the Malaysian Judiciary.

My heart was heavy last night, pondering the possibility that Anwar might well be detained and forced to contest the Permatang Pauh by-election from behind bars. He himself had steeled his resolve for such a possibility, quipping that in that eventuality his songkok and sarong would have to represent him. So it was a profound pleasure to learn today that Anwar is free to campaign in person and be in the loving company of his family, colleagues, and friends. The pleasure was doubled by the simple fact that the judge acted compassionately, humanely, and wisely by letting Anwar walk out a free man. This is evidence that there are still a few members of the judiciary capable of doing their job without fear or favor and who refuse to be browbeaten into subservience to political puppetmasters.

Anwar & Azizah bask in the glow of his freedom after his sodomy conviction was overturned in September 2004 (photo courtesy of AP)


Being conscious of the Quranic injunction which urges striving towards betterment;

And inspired by the Asian traditions, which all encourage renewal for the individual and for society;

And acknowledging that Malaysia is in the grip of a terrible crisis and requires recourse to its inner strengths in order to rise again,

We the citizens of Malaysia of all cultural and religious backgrounds are determined to launch a movement for comprehensive reform:

A reform movement shining with a light radiating from aspiring and pure hearts; from the awareness that man is truly noble and free, with rights and responsibilities, that it is a sacrilege to abuse and denigrate any man or woman, to bind and restrict any man or woman without following the due process of just laws;

A reform movement to establish justice for all, the weak and strong, the rich and poor, to preserve the institutions and processes of law from the defilement of graft and abuse of power;

A reform movement to sanctify the power of the people through democratic means, for democracy is an imperative: man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary;

A reform movement that champions economic justice, one that advocates fairness in economic growth and distribution so that the rich do not get richer at the expense of the poor, for the world has enough for everyone, but too little to satisfy everyone’s greed;

A reform movement to eradicate graft and abuse of power, to strip the opulent and greedy clique of their power to manipulate the market;

A reform movement to reinforce a dynamic cultural identity, where faith in our noble cultural traditions is intact, but there is openness to all that is good in all traditions;

A reform movement to launch the Malaysian nation into the information age and the borderless world, encouraging wisdom, self-assurance and openness towards a global friendship based on the principles of truth and justice.

We launch this reform movement as a peaceful movement, in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution and in observance of the principles of the rule of law.

The time has come. Unite for Reformasi.

Permatang Pauh
12 September 1998

[First posted 7 August 2008]