(WSJ) This past weekend, Malaysian police said they had begun an investigation into a complaint by a 23-year-old campaign worker who alleged that the 60-year-old Mr. Anwar forcibly sodomized him.
In 1998, Mr. Anwar, then-finance minister and deputy prime minister, was sacked by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for allegedly sodomizing his family driver and another aide. Mr. Anwar took to the streets to protest his innocence, and tens of thousands of supporters joined him before he was arrested and later convicted of sodomy, a criminal act in Malaysia that carries a sentence of as many as 20 years in prison.
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said the government is trying to frame him in a sexual-abuse scandal.
Dr. Mahathir groomed Mr. Anwar to become his successor until the younger man began criticizing the then-premier's management of Malaysia's economy, which was badly hit when the Asian financial crisis began in 1997.
Mr. Anwar has always maintained that 1998 criminal charges were fabricated to prevent him from challenging Dr. Mahathir for power. Dr. Mahathir denied this.
In 2004, after Dr. Mahathir retired, Mr. Anwar's sodomy conviction was overturned.
A few quick comments:
(i) This is an acid test on how far we have reformed our judicial system. Is our judicial system free from executive power? Will see.
(ii) Anwar was convicted during Dr. M's administration, then overturned in 2004 during AAB's administration. Now everyone knows AAB senses threat, everyone must smell fishy if he is convicted guilty this time. When that happens, it is a very clear cut you can be in and out of the jail at the mercy of executive power. Has the leopard changed it skin? Hmmmmm...........
Be very careful how we handle this issue. Foreign investors may look down on us. A misstep, we are sending a wrong message to foreign investors on Malaysia's will to reform.
(iii) Templeton always advise do not be afraid to buy on war news. I guess it is also the same here, do not be afraid to buy on news of opposition to topple the present government. The question on everyone's mind, is 1153 a new bottom? Plantation sector which is well like by foreigners had a brutal day, I think the sector fell like almost 3%. Ringgit has weakened against US $ as well. 1 US $ to RM 3.2712. As long as plantation sector is holding the fort, I do not think it can go very much lower from here for the short term outlook.