11 February 2015
The second jailing of Anwar Ibrahim is expected to unleash a chain of repercussions that will affect both sides of the political divide. What looms is a new phase of uncertainty that may, however, throw into prominence new and younger leaders.
As widely expected, the Malaysian Federal Court has dismissed the appeal of opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim against a sodomy conviction, triggering the start of a chain of events that could shake up Malaysian politics in the years to come. Serving immediately a jail term of five years for what he maintains was a political conspiracy by his enemies, the verdict could well end the 67-year-old Anwar’s political career. Besides losing his parliamentary seat, by the time he comes out, he would be 72 – a mite too old to make any political comeback. But the former deputy prime minister has in the past proven to be like a cat with nine lives – and might just be another.
In 2000, two years after he was sacked as deputy premier following a clash with then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad due to differences over the Asian financial crisis, he was jailed for his first sodomy conviction but released four years later when that conviction was overturned. Anwar countered his latest court verdict with a vow to continue his fight from behind bars, thus promising to turn himself into a potent political martyr.
…Yang Razali Kassim is a Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. A version of this was due to appear in World Review.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 16/02/2015