The Ugly Reality of Malaysian Politics

2014 was a bad year for Malaysia. 2015 is starting off on a lousy note too, from the perspective of those hoping for further liberalizing reforms in this competitive authoritarian regime. I’m referring, of course, to yesterday’s ruling by Malaysia’s Court of Appeal against Anwar Ibrahim, who until yesterday was Malaysia’s opposition leader. Anwar was convicted of sodomizing his former driver, Saiful, in 2008—and in this conviction, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s acquittal of Anwar from 2012. It appears that this ends the nearly seven year saga of “Sodomy 2.”

As if that’s not enough, the prosecution is seeking to extend Anwar’s sentence from five (the statutory guideline) to twenty years. You read that right: twenty years. Anwar is 68 years old. He might be able to reenter Malaysian politics after five years, but not after twenty.

Call this Sodomy 2: Authoritarian F*** You.

For some background on Anwar’s sodomy trial and what it means for authoritarian rule in Malaysia, you can check out some previous posts on this topic.