Is Malaysia’s democracy slipping backwards?

After all the optimism about political “opening” in Malaysia earlier this year, it was sad to see the various articles on the latest charges against Anwar Ibrahim (WSJ editorial here, link to Washington Post “Anwar Ibrahim” federated search here).  A few comments:

  • It is striking that the government felt it could roll out charges essentially unchanged from the 1998 playbook.  Ominously, the former PM, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, was sure that the government wouldn’t repeat the mistakes from the 1998 prosecution.  The less-than-twenty- years in prison mistake, perhaps?  (I can’t provide the link, The Straits Times [heh, heh…] is subscription-only).
  • The leader of the Malaysian Bar felt compelled to reiterate that the burden of proof was on the government (here).
  • The Malaysian Star online has no specific stories on the Anwar alibi (home page here), while the foreign press had a number of articles (here and here).
  • Remember that Malaysia is a relative liberal Muslim country…one of the comments on Queerty was shocked, shocked that sodomy carries a 20-year sentence (post here).  Being out often has more, let’s say, permanent consequences in an Islamic country (which, to be fair, one commenter pointed out here).

Finally, I’m in India and it was very interesting to see what Google Ads selected to place on Queerty’s banner: at least two India-based marriage sites and (100% profile screening, BTW).  What a great “How I Met Your Mother…and Father” story that will be, never mind the potential series spin-off…

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