What Can Ismail Do That Anwar Can’t?

Past days have seen blatant horse-trading as the self-interested power play of the PN MPs has continued to side-line any attempts to run the country in the middle of the worst moment of the pandemic.

The departing prime minister Mahiaddin himself voiced the main issue at stake, so Sarawak Report need only repeat him in describing the rebellion he faced from the various crooks on whom PN’s numbers desperately rely as a move to get charges dropped against them.

It is worth again quoting his unveiled remarks on leaving office:

“I could’ve taken the easy way out by sacrificing my principles to stay on as prime minister. But that is not my choice.
I will never be in cahoots with the kleptocrat group, to disrupt the independence of the judiciary and to undermine the Constitution just to maintain power,” [The Star and others]

It is a shocking statement, the hypocrisy from a man who depended on these very people to retain power over two years to one side. In stating his boundaries when it comes to principles Mahiaddin also laid out clearly the price of his former bedfellows who had pulled the carpet from under him.

Insider information obtained by Sarawak Report confirms that UMNO leaders recently laid out exactly the same terms to Anwar Ibrahim, namely a demand to disrupt the independence of the judiciary in order to let a bunch of kleptos off.

Anwar was forced to respond that this was something he simply was not in a position to do. How could the leader of the executive simply command his attorney general to drop ongoing prosecutions or alternatively pressure independent judges to fly in the face of overwhelming evidence?

“He explained this was not acceptable nor within his power. Immediately the earlier indications of support for a unity administration from UMNO leaders disappeared.”

sources have told Sarawak Report. So, it is clear from two quarters who should surely know, what UMNO’s price has been – and who would seriously have considered otherwise?

Within hours of these events the UMNO deputy to Mahiaddin, whom 11 MPs had deserted apparently on principle, emerged to claim he now has the solid backing of each and every one of those MPs to reform a claimed majority, save for one old warhorse (Tengku Razali) who has been exceptional in his career in UMNO in that he has a reputation for integrity.

So, we know what Ismail Sabri has agreed to. We also know thanks to Mahiaddin’s own actions that, despite his pious protestations, in Malaysia such reversals of the judicial process for apparent political convenience are entirely possible. The sudden discharge  without an acquittal of Riza Aziz as a first olive branch to seal the PN marriage was one example, as was the dropping of scores of charges against the corrupted Musa Aman as the deal to secure Sabah.

Under BN/UMNO rule such kleptos would never have been charged in the first place of course, they could continue their ‘business’ undisturbed. That dispensation extended to the failure to prosecute a murder cover-up and plenty more.

On the other hand, such apparent abuse of legal process could be seen known to work vigorously in the other direction to harass and imprison the opponents of such ‘representative of the people’ most notably in the false charges that were forced through agains Anwar Ibrahim to ensure he was put in jail before GE14.

In this case the judge refused to find Anwar guilty on trumped up evidence, however the PM Najib Razak was able to nonetheless over-turn the judicial process entirely by appealing an acquittal.  To their credit state prosecutors refused to be involved, but the all-powerful prime minister was able to drag in his own lawyer to do the job (whom he secretly paid with money stolen from 1MDB to the tune of RM9 million) and the higher court judges appear to have been sufficiently ‘impressed’ to find in favour of doing what Najib wanted.

The people of Malaysia who have watched this barely concealed sequence of appalling acts of corruption and undermining of the law (don’t accuse Sarawak Report of ‘sedition’ again, just read the words of the outgoing prime minister) roundly and rightly voted for reform in 2018.

Ismail Sabri however represents all those discredited politicians who were voted out of office at GE14, who nonetheless came back to prove that despite losing an election their corruption, wealth and disregard for the rule of law could buy them back into power (and off the hook).

So, who is surprised that while the unjustly imprisoned (now fully pardoned) Anwar responded he could not interfere in the course of justice, Ismail Sabri supplied an answer that provided immediate satisfaction to his fellow UMNO MPs?

Is it that he can ring up judges where Anwar knows not how to? Is it that inducements can be brought to change the minds of independent prosecutors that Anwar has yet to discover? Or are there other methods that most honest people know nothing of but that the would-be UMNO prime minister is confident he can employ?

What we do know is that none of this would be correct or honourable or good governance for Malaysia. It would confirm the country in the eyes of the world as a hive of hopelessly corrupted crooks whom no one could trust to share a sandwich with.

The Agong should treat the 114 bought and bartered, by no means solid MP votes (the same frogs will respond to their rewards by hopping wherever the next meal takes them) with the same disdain with which he treated the 114 signatures presented by Dr Mahathir at the same stage of the proceedings last time round.

He should appoint a prime minister who is prepared to run the country as opposed to selling it and tell those frogs to get behind him or faced the consequences of an election sooner rather than later.

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