Monday, June 30, 2008

The Most Famous 23-year-old in Malaysia is in hiding

Interesting to know the whereabouts of the most famous 23-yeard-old in Malaysia now!

As Malaysiakini reports:-

The man who lodged a police report against Anwar Ibrahim - his special aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan - is already undergoing a character assassination on the Internet.
Further, the most talked about 23-year-old in Malaysia is nowhere to be found.
Saiful now stands accused of being part of a conspiracy plot orchestrated by politicians from the Barisan Nasional government to defame or have Anwar jailed once again.
He alleged that the PKR de facto leader sodomised him at a luxury condominium in Damansara.
And at a PKR press conference yesterday - and now all over blogs and the Internet - pictures of Saiful and various BN politicians were distributed.
Besides posing with ministers like Shahrir Abdul Samad, Azalina Othman Said and Mustapa Mohamed, Saiful has also taken pictures with Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's special officer Khairil Anas Yusof. Najib today denied any involvement with Saiful.
A visit to Saiful's double-storey link house in Bandar Utama in Petaling Jaya this afternoon showed no signs of people.
However, after several minutes of buzzing the house bell, a man who said he was Saiful's uncle answered the door.

A good kid
According to the uncle, who did not want to give his name, his nephew had gone into hiding and he had not contacted him since news of the report broke out on Saturday.
"But I believe in Saiful," said the 20-something-year-old at the double-storey house.
"He is a good kid and all that he has done, he has done with honesty. I just got back from Perak and we've not been in touch but I know why he lodged the report," he added.
Teary-eyed, the uncle said that his nephew reported the matter as he wanted to expose the PKR leader for what he was.
When asked about Saiful's alleged links to Umno politicians, the uncle brushed them off.
"We've got no help or connections with Umno. All he wanted to do is to expose the heinous crime."
Besides his safety, Saiful also stands to lose big if his allegations do not hold water. At midday today, Anwar's lawyers have filed a defamation suit against the former Uniten dropout.
In the suit which was filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court registry in Jalan Duta, Anwar also claimed that the police report lodged by Saiful was an abuse of the process of law.

The re-branding of Malaysia....Liwat-gate To The Fore

I wrote about International Conference on Meeting of Minds: Developing the Malaysia Master Brand, here.
It was officiated by Najib who said in his opening speech: “To effectively position Malaysia in this globalised arena, we must be characterised by a unified core of competence and unique selling proposition that fits all levels of economy and society.”
Yesterday, along the way to and from work, the highlights of sodomy report againts Anwar were all over the air. Most radio channels that I tuned to had mentioned about this breaking news and later on the updates.

The repeats of "Malaysia Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim bla bla bla" were indeed irritating to the ears when summer is already here reaching 50 degree celcius temperature and lot of Arab tourists flocking our shores for vacation.

Yes, any news is good news in marketing especially to promote new brands to the world. However, in this current situation, I was too embarrassed even driving alone with thousands other drivers rushing to reach their destinations.

In the office, some colleagues sought my opinion on this issue. Some expatriate friends called to know what was going on. I was again, dumbfounded while trying to analyse those reports as well as entries from other blogs and news sites.

My first reaction was, well, not again. Not again, not this kind of publicity and news splashing all over the world. This is not a laughing matter or mattress that can potray justifiably our civilisation.

One guy hangs Anwar's photo up in his room and he is not even a Malaysian or Muslim. Of course he never believes this accusation after 1998 fiasco that rocked the nation. He just asked, who was that moron how much was he getting paid to be sodomised?

One prominent businessman (not Malaysian) talked on the phone for more than one hour to let me know how stupid and low this damning charge could be to the nation. He was furious to hear the news and could not believe that the same strategy is now being used when the world has changed so much since ten years ago.

"Do these stupid perpetrators know what they are doing?"

I assume within my limited knowledge in politics, the stakes are already high for most politicians for their own survivals. Therefore, whatever price to pay by the nation is nothing compared to their own survivals. Life is marvellous in corridors of power. At this stake, the nation images and foreigners' esp investors' perceptions are not important at all.

The real victim is the people as this is a knee-jerk diversion from the real issues on the ground. Whoever behind this scam has been successful for now to make majority forget about petrol hike, inflation, security matters, altantuya murder, corruptions, wastage and other flip-flop decisons.

It could be another blessing as well and we see the next actions by those implicated and involved on both sides.

By the way, is this 'Sodomy' the master branding that Najib had in mind during the conference?

I would like to share this article from Malaysiakini.

Liwat-gate: Who's behind this?
Ong Kian Ming & Oon Yeoh Jun 30, 08 11:29am
In a previous podcast, we've said that it was unlikely that the authorities would sit idly by and let PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim scheme his way into forming the next government.

We speculated that the government might possibly declare an emergency or call for a fresh election. Recently, there has been intense speculation that Umno has been trying to entice PAS to cooperate with it on the basis of Malay unity. And there is always fear that violence might break out if Anwar tries to take over the government. But never in our wildest imagination did we envision that someone would recycle that old allegation of sodomy.

Reports surfaced over the weekend that a personal aide of Anwar had made a police report alleging that the PKR leader had sodomized him in a condo in Kuala Lumpur. This was followed by an immediate press conference where Anwar denied the accusation. To add drama to the whole situation, he later took refuge at the Turkish Embassy because of fear for his personal safety.

The notion that a 61-year old with a bad back can forcibly sodomise a strapping 23-year old is laughable. This is simply not the kind of thing that anyone, not even Anwar's harshest critic, is going to believe. Instead, people are going to conclude that it's a desperate, politically-motivated conspiracy.

That this desperate move will backfire is already a foregone conclusion. The big question is who is behind this latest move to try to impugn Anwar's character with a tactic dating back to 1998?

We had a look at all the messages and phone calls we received over the weekend from various people to try to identify some trends.

One thing that most people concur is that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is not behind it. He had the same 'deer caught in the headlights' reaction when asked about the latest developments, just like when Sapp and Yong Teck Lee announced that they no longer had confidence in him.

Furthermore, nothing in his style or demeanor gives us any indication that he has the kind of mean streak that would allow him to agree to this kind of ruthless and dirty tactic. He is no Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

One could not discount, however, the possibility that someone close to Abdullah may have been behind this, in a misguided attempt to help him. But this seems unlikely as any sensible politician would foresee the negative reaction and the public sympathy that would emerge from the repeat of the sodomy allegation.

The issue of who benefits and who loses from all this will be dealt with in tomorrow's podcast but clearly one of the big losers from this is Abdullah. Political pundits, observers and insiders might immediately conclude that he has nothing to do with it but the mass public will naturally conclude it's an attempt by the government to smear Anwar. And who is the head of the government?

Two camps

So, the natural question is who would have the motive to instigate something like this, knowing full well that such a move would hurt Abdullah? Two camps come to mind.

The first is the natural and obvious one. Who was the one responsible for branding Anwar a sodomite way back in 1998? It's not inconceivable that Mahathir, who still publicly states that he believes that Anwar is a sodomite, somehow had a hand in all this or at the very least encouraged it.

Perhaps he thought this is one way to kill two birds with one stone – discredit Anwar by taint of allegation and hurt Abdullah at the same time.

Of course, any serious political watcher would know that such a move would only serve to generate public sympathy for Anwar but when you are blinded by hatred for your enemies, sometimes you do desperate things.

The second person who would benefit from this would be Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak. To be fair, nothing in Najib's character or demeanor suggests that he has the kind of Machiavellian streak that Mahathir possess in copious quantities.

Perhaps someone in his camp, angry at the notion that perhaps Abdullah or his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, is holding some incriminating documents on the Altantuya case – as alleged by Raja Petra Kamarudin – dreamt up this strategy to undermine Abdullah and give Najib a boost.

If this was the case, the person responsible certainly did not realise that there exists a photo of the alleged victim with the DPM's aide outside the Najib’s office – a photo that has already been widely circulated on the Internet!

While Abdullah may not have had anything to do with this, it is well within his power – and not to mention, politically advantageous – for him to nip this whole issue in the bud. Kill off the story before it becomes the kind of fiasco that it threatens to be.

Just as Mahathir had used the full force of the state machinery to play up the story, Abdullah could use that same machinery to make it go away. But knowing Abdullah, he would probably stand aside and 'let the police continue their investigation', to the detriment of himself and ultimately his government.

Najib denies involvement in conspiracy in Malaysiakini

Read reactions from Dubai here

Beh Lih Yi Jun 30, 08 1:14pm
Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Azak today strongly dismissed claims that he was involved in a conspiracy to ruin PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim's political career.
He said that he was not involved in the police report lodged by Anwar's aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in which he claimed to be sodomised by Anwar."I'm not involved in this case," the deputy prime minister told reporters in Parliament.
When questioned on the existence of a photo of his special officer with Saiful, Najib said it was taken when the 23-year-old came to his office to seek a government scholarship to pursue his studies.
The photo (shows Saiful (in blue shirt) with Najib's special officer Khairil Anas Yusof. According to Najib, the photo was taken three months ago.
He repeatedly stressed at the press conference that he was not involved in any political conspiracy.
The deputy prime minister said that it was now up to the police to investigate the report lodged by Saiful to see if the alleged sodomy did take place.
Saiful dropped a bombshell on Saturday by lodging a police report stating that he was sodomised by Anwar.Anwar said that this was a fabricated charge and left to seek protection at the Turkish embassy after claiming that his life was in danger.
He also filed a defamation suit against Saiful this morning to clear his name.

Government's assures safety
Najib today said that Anwar was never harassed, even when he was busy campaigning against the government as an opposition leader.
"This is not a political persecution. Let the police investigate the matter," he added.
Najib also said that the government can assure Anwar of his personal safety.
Meanwhile, three other Umno ministers also denied that they were part of any conspiracy.
Photographs of Saiful with Shahrir Abdul Samad, Mustapha Mohamad and Azalina Othman Said appeared in the Internet yesterday, fuelling speculations of Saiful's involvement with Umno figures to topple Anwar.
The three ministers also said that they did not know Saiful personally.Commenting on this, Najib said that Saiful, being a student leader, could have taken photographs with many politicians.