Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Post-Mortem on Sodomy II ~ by M. Bakri Musa

Anwar interviewed after his acquittal on 9 January 2012 (The Malaysian Insider)


Hold The Accolades!
M. Bakri Musa

Zabidin Mohd Diah:
Malaysian justice on trial
Now that Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah has acquitted Anwar Ibrahim on his “Sodomy II” charge, there is no end of praise heaped upon the judge specifically and the system of justice generally. Prime Minister Najib was quick with his smug assertion that “neither politics nor politicians have any influence over the dispensation of justice.” Foreign governments too have been effusive with their praises. Some now brazenly call for Anwar Ibrahim to apologize for his earlier criticisms of the system.

Hold the accolades! This sordid trial reveals everything that is rotten with the Malaysian system of justice. This case should never have been prosecuted in the first place. That it was reflected the level or more precisely lack of professionalism on the part of these career prosecutors. As for the trial, there were many instances where the judge could have thrown the case out, as when the physical evidence was introduced. Now the learned judge used that as the reason for acquittal.

As for Anwar Ibrahim, he and his family are rightfully grateful for the verdict, but hold on to your apology. Forgiveness, yes, as he said recently; that is always praiseworthy. He rightly cautioned that one court decision does not a judicial spring make. Besides, there is still the monumental task ahead to clear up the mess, and not just in the system of justice. Najib’s much-ballyhooed “transformation” is a charade concocted by his exorbitantly-paid consultants.

Doing Away With Anwar

The decision to do away with Anwar was made a long time ago. In opting for this particular route, they had hoped that whatever the outcome Anwar would be irreparably damaged by the smear. How they misjudged! The public remains convinced that the charge was politically motivated, and crassly at that, right from the very beginning.

The tragedy here, apart from the agony and humiliation Anwar and his family had endured, is that a delayed-adolescent college flunkey desperate for his 15 minutes of fame was being exploited. They used the poor boy as a battering rod, pardon my metaphor, to do in Anwar.

There is only one possible redeeming value to Judge Zabidin continuing this trial in its squalid entirety, and that is to expose the pathetic lack of professionalism of not just the prosecuting team but also the other professionals involved. This included the police officers and crime investigators to the forensic scientists tasked with the crucial DNA analysis and the senior specialists who examined Anwar’s accuser.

 Hospital Kuala Lumpur's
Dr S Jeyaindran: happy to
help his buddy, PM Najib

Consider those medical specialists. They failed in their duty to inform and educate the court; they owed the court their individual professional judgment, not a committee report. Unlike paid experts, those government doctors were not beholden to the accuser or accused, only to uphold the truth. If they had doubts they should so inform the court. Likewise those chemists; before they performed the DNA analyses they should be satisfied of the integrity of the specimens. If they were forced to perform tests on specimens of questionable integrity, they clearly should have informed the court of their doubts.

Those specialists were based at the General Hospital Kuala Lumpur, an apex institution in the government’s healthcare system; thus presumably they must be the best. They should also have known that this was a very high-profile case and that their performance would come under global scrutiny. It should have been an opportunity for them to showcase their talent and professionalism. Instead the judge singled out the inadequacy of the physical evidence, as reflected in their reports and testimonies, as the reason for acquittal.

[Read the full incisive essay here...]
Post a Comment