Anwar: A tryst with destiny - Abdullah Ahmad



14 September 1997


At Indian Independence 50-plus-years ago (Saturday, Aug 15, 1947), the Cambridge-educated Jawaharlal Pandit Nehru, the country's first prime minister said: "We made a tryst with destiny." After half a century, India and Pakistan (a day older) are still waiting for the silver lining.

Nehru was widely perceived by many Indians as well as British to be more than just an admirer of Lady Edwina Mountbatten, the wife of India's last Viceroy. Even Nehru was not spared rumours nor was an even bigger human being - Mahatma Gandhi who had after marriage and having produced two sons, renounced sex to be an ascetic.

Amid all the publicity lately about Anwar's alleged appetite for the forbidden, I wonder how our deputy prime minister could have had time for dangerous liaisons, and, with all the security detail, to wit Special Branch officers and members of the Special Squad in tow to boot.

I can imagine the glee of Anwar's enemies, clapping their well-manicured-and-polished-hands, counting the days for the arrival of more surat layang (poison letters) - good tidings to those who take great delight in Anwar's anguish. While many revere Anwar as a "good imam" (if that is possible for a politician), his opponents see him only as an astute politician and
a good actor. I have been able, during the last five years in particular, to see him in a gentler light.

What the poison pen letters state, and what the people believe, depends entirely on whom you trust. Many sensible Malaysians, including us here in New York (a very judicious group), believe, as I do, that the various "coveted trysts" are not true, and if the assertions were true I would have been flabbergasted how Anwar had time for any serious discussions about anything with the Prime Minister Dato' Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, given that he was allegedly routinely to be overindulging himself.

When it comes to illicit sexual relationships (or "liaison dangerous" as the French would call it) men and women all over the world are as furtive as thieves! Of course, there are a few who love to flaunt the forbidden, to publicise what should be essentially discreet and private. Thank goodness the "latter group" is quintessentially a Western or Hollywood practice.

It all began when Adam and Eve took the apple and that was the birth of sin. Malaysians have apparently discovered it rather late - the pleasure of simultaneously making great effort to conceal and reveal what should properly remain secret and very personal.

Let's start with a conspiracy theory, for what it is worth.

It became clear to me that the barrage of Anwar-bashing via surat layang is a bizarre vendetta being pursued by Anwar's enemies whose number will grow as he grows in stature and assume more prime ministerial role whenever Mahathir is away.

Who are responsible or rather are the sources of those damaging poison pen letters? I was told in confidence who were the probable persons or the loosely allied groups. Although it is not hard to imagine one or two still-vengeful groups which did what it did, I do wish the men and women behind the group would stop. Obviously they are very angry with Anwar but how angry is too angry?

Anwar can console himself because he has now joined the outstandingly enviable company of such as the Sultan of Brunei, one of the world's richest men, and Shannon Marketic, 27, a former Miss USA, Paula Jones and President Bill Clinton, and that of many other scandals - black army officers with white female privates, Eddie Murphy and a transexual prostitute, Mohamad Sabu and Norma and Rahim Tamby Chik and an underaged girl.

An American judge has ruled that Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah cannot be sued for allegedly holding Marketic as a "sex slave" with six other beauty queens because His Majesty is protected by sovereign immunity, being the head of a friendly nation. Mohamad Sabu escaped punishment and Paula's case is pending as are those of White privates.

Sex scandals are as old as peeping, prying and imagining, and Malaysians are beginning to wallow in sex scandals! I hope the worse is over. Mahathir and the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Abdui Rahim Mohamad Noor, had said that there was no basis for the accusations, and Mahathir did reiterate as late as last week following Umno's 51st General Assembly that it had not damaged Anwar's prospect in the least.

However, I have a lingering feeling that Anwar's enemies will keep the alleged scandals alive - even invent new ones - to waylay Anwar from moving upward.

These people must have promised themselves to spoil Anwar's dreams.

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