Aww Geez

You take one day off of checking the Malaysian news to see what’s going in that country’s fast-moving political scene, and you come back to this.

"Sodomy claim by aide is  fabrication, says Anwar."

I don’t know much more about this story than what I see here.  The accuser is an aide who was hired by Anwar in March of this year.  I can tell you that the opposition media are claiming that this is a complete fabrication and that the government has engineered these allegations in order to derail his political fortunes.  I have also learned from the Malay-language media that the word for sodomy in Malay is liwat.  Never know when that might come in handy.

The wider political context is more interesting.  In 1998 Anwar was accused of sodomizing his driver, his advisor, and his wife’s driver.  He was tried and convicted of this in 2000, although the charge was thrown out in 2004.  The general consensus among Malaysianists is that this charge was false and politically motivated, and meant to be both embarrassing (since now he had to talk about it) and to paint Anwar as immoral, offending the sensibilities the country’s Malay population.  Since then, Anwar has been in jail, was released, and was behind the stunning electoral success of the opposition in March 8 elections of this year.

I have met Anwar.  I support his struggle for democracy in Malaysia, even if we differ on some smaller points.  I tend not to believe anything that the Malaysian regime says when it comes to the opposition.  I think that it’s no accident that Anwar has been accused of sodomy at the very time when the regime faces its largest threat from the opposition in decades.  That the accuser is a recently-hired aide is probably no accident either.  That said, I have to be careful to tread lightly here–think of how many American politicians lead double lives in the sex department!  I think that the safest position is that Anwar should be considered innocent until proven guilty, and that I am inclined to believe (1) that he is innocent and (2) that he will not get a fair trial if it gets that far.

UPDATE. I should make clear that even in the unlikely event that Anwar were bisexual, it shouldn’t matter. Although, we all know, it probably would.