Monday, March 02, 2015

Anwar’s pardon an opportunity for healing

The action of Anwar’s family seeking a royal pardon for Anwar Ibrahim, who has been sentenced to jail for sodomy by the Federal Court, is a welcome sign. It could be the beginning of the healing process after nearly 2 decades of hate politics that gripped the nation and brought to a standstill.

Anwar has fiercely denied the charges and went all out to defend himself leading to the High Court acquitting him of the charge. However the Appeals and Federal courts have overturned the High Court verdict and sentenced the former DPM and Opposition Leader to 5 years jail. Despite this conviction, the truth will never be known, as it will be known only to Anwar and his alleged accomplice.

At the age of 68 and with serious spine problems, it would be inhumane to send a person to the hard living conditions in prison, more so for an alleged immoral activity between two consenting adults, which many see it as not a crime in the first place. If it was some gruesome murder or brutal rape of a minor it would be justified not an immoral act like consensual sex between two consenting adults.

Will the King pardon Anwar is the question many are asking, considering his prolonged trial was so highly politicized. No ordinary citizen with such an alleged consensual sodomy would have got the 5 year jail sentence that Anwar got. Furthermore the prosecution will not go out so enthusiastically to appeal a case like sodomy that we all know is common these days.

Well it is the prerogative of the King whether to pardon him of his alleged sins. I think Anwar should be pardoned not because he was a senior politician, former DPM or Opposition leader but because of his contribution to the nation and because of his age and ill health. He should be pardoned to put an end to the nearly 2 decades of hate politics that has divided the country politically and ethnically. The race relations have deteriorated to a level that it is threatening the peace and harmony in the country. A royal pardon will allow the process of healing of a badly divided and wounded nation.

The two-party system of democracy that Anwar helped to create must go on with the younger leaders taking lead. The racial and religious divide must be narrowed with new leaders who have no old baggage to carry with them.

The nation urgently needs new leaders with integrity, honesty and national patriotism, leaders who will unite the people and get rid of the hatred for one another created by selfish politicians. We need to see the dawn of a new Malaysia where everyone regardless of race or creed have live happily with equal opportunity under the Malaysian sun. The pardoning and release of Anwar from jail may start this process of national reconciliation and healing.

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