Saturday, June 13, 2015

1MDB and the sodomy case of 1998

Salleh Said Keruak

I remember back in September 1998 when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad went on national TV to accuse Anwar Ibrahim of sexual misconduct with men and women. Dr Mahathir described in great detail what Anwar was alleged to have done.

Anwar was subsequently found guilt of sodomy because, according to the judge, he had failed to prove his innocence. Later the Federal Court acquitted Anwar on grounds that the prosecution had failed to prove his guilt, which was what the prosecution should have done instead of asking Anwar to prove his innocence.

Meanwhile, for six years from September 1998 until September 2004, Anwar was subjected to trial by media on the basis that he was guilty until and unless he can prove his innocence. Even after the court acquitted him due to the failure of the prosecution to prove Anwar’s guilt the stigma still remains.

Now, again, Dr Mahathir is subjecting Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to the same treatment. He is doing to Najib what he did to Anwar 17 years ago -- guilty until proven innocent. And, just like back in 1998, Dr Mahathir is talking as if he has the indisputable evidence of Najib’s guilt.

But when it is pointed out that he, too, had made mistakes in his tenure as Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir will argue that no evidence has ever been produced to prove that. When it is an allegation against him, Dr Mahathir talks about evidence but when against others mere suspicion is enough and no evidence is required.

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