Veteran M'sian journalist's dire warning:
If the case is acquitted, then Anwar will become a 'sacred creature' who is bulletproof from slander. - A. Kadir Jasin, former chief editor of New Straits Times group
If Anwar Ibrahim goes to jail, it will affect the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) as much as the opposition leader himself, a veteran Malaysian journalist has said.
Yesterday, Malaysia's highest court opened two days of hearings expected to produce a final ruling on much-criticised sodomy charges against Anwar, 67, that could send the opposition leader to jail.
He was cleared in 2012 of charges that he sodomised a young former male aide four years earlier, but that acquittal was controversially reversed in March by an appeals court which convicted him.
In a recent blog post, A. Kadir Jasin, the former chief editor of New Straits Times group, also said it is premature to say that the Anwar verdict will be the end for opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
He suggested that PR would benefit whichever way the Federal Court decides, Malay Mail reported, quoting from the blog post.
Mr Kadir wrote: "Part of PR's strength comes from BN's weakness (and) it might never gain any benefit from Anwar's imprisonment.
"Instead, BN might suffer from the burden of the accusation and hatred, while Anwar will continue 'helming' PR from his 'suite' in prison. And if the case is acquitted, then he will become a 'sacred creature' who is bulletproof from slander."
If Anwar fails to reverse his five-year jail sentence and conviction, the Permatang Pauh MP would lose his seat as the law bars anyone fined RM2,000 (S$780) or imprisoned for one year from serving as a lawmaker.
Anwar said that staying in Malaysia to face the decision on his appeal case is his "last sacrifice" for Malaysians.
Although admitting that he could choose the easy way out by moving to London or Istanbul, he was adamant that this would be his "last final service, especially for the young", reported liberal news portal Malaysiakini.
Addressing a crowd at Subang Jaya on Monday night, he said: "What will the young people say if I run away? How will the young fight, then? You must state your position. And please remember to exercise your right."
His message to BN was that it cannot silence him.
"You cannot expect me to be silent. I think if I say (opposition parties) DAP (Democratic Action Party) and PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party) are nothing but troublemakers, Umno is right and (Prime Minister) Najib Abdul Razak is the best prime minister, they will revoke my case.
"And after one week, I will become a 'Tun'," he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
He added: "If you want to threaten or 'buy' me, sorry. I am mentally prepared, so do not try to threaten me. I don't want to go to prison, but if I have to, I will go fighting against the corrupt system."
This article was first published on Oct 29, 2014.
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