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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Malaysia's Anwar walking a tightrope! He should resign honourablely?


Despite expert evidence that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is the man in the controversial video screened by the Datuk T trio, the Opposition Leader shows no resolve to step down and maintains he is not the person in the film.

IS this the end of the road for PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim?

The trial of the Datuk T trio former Malacca chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik, businessman Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah and former Perkasa treasurer-general Datuk Shuaib Lazim has ended with a fine and something of a hero status for them.

They pleaded guilty to screening the video to selected journalists and editors at the Carcosa Sri Negara on March 21 and were each fined between RM1,000 and RM3,000.

But for Anwar, it is the start of another nightmare as he fights off this latest sex scandal which implicates him with a woman who is probably a Chinese sex worker at an Ampang apartment in February.

Sex scandals implicating Anwar have become all too familiar in recent years and denials and allegations of conspiracy by him and those around the Opposition Leader are equally familiar.

But while enumerating the facts of the case at the proceedings on Friday, deputy public prosecutor Kamaludin Md Said and defence lawyer for Rahim, Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, quoted evidence from a report by experts that makes it difficult for a quick denial acceptable to the people.

The report from two leading US experts on forensics video/computer analysis Prof Hany Farid and Prof Lorenzo Torresani, both of Dartmouth College said the video was genuine, not tampered with and that the man in the video was 99.99% probably Anwar.

Then, there is the playing of the recording in court, which makes the video a public document and therefore, freely available to the public from now.

The question raised by DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang on the veracity of the experts was also unchallenged in court.

Hany Farid is accepted as the “father of digital image forensic/video analysis” and his testimony cannot be easily questioned.
He is frequently consulted for his opinions by newspapers, journals and courts. In 2009, he did an analysis of a famous photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who shot US president John Kennedy, holding a rifle and a newspaper and concluded the image was genuine.

In addition, he and Torresani are from Dartmouth College, one of nine Ivy League institutions in the United States founded in 1769 (before the birth of America in 1776), which employ the highest standards of learning and teaching in the world.

The police did a thorough job of getting a premier college in the United States to check on the authenticity of the video clip.

It is amazing that they (the police) could get the two professors involved to analyse the video. Their (the experts') involvement and that of Dartmouth College is why the case has been delayed this long.

But back to the question, is this end of the road for Anwar? Can he overcome this accusation?

Already some independent MPs, those who once backed Anwar, are demanding he resigns as MP.

They cited examples of MPs who had resigned in Turkey, Indonesia and the United States in recent weeks in the wake of sex scandals or sexual impropriety.

Anwar shows no resolve to step down. Instead, he is in fighting mode and rejects all calls for him to call it a day.

He also maintains he is not the man in the video. “We will deal with it. We will have to prepare our defence,” Anwar said to the possibility of being charged with making a false police report.

With mounting evidence of his sexual escapades and with the men close to him scraping the bottom of the barrel to find ways to support their leader, Anwar is still throwing at his enemies the same old charges to fend off their (the opponents') attacks.

As Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said, the people have to decide on the veracity of the video clip.

“This is something they have to judge for themselves. The most important thing is to determine the authenticity (of the tape) and find the truth,” he said.

“Two foreign experts have verified the video clip as authentic,” he said.

Considering that Anwar has denied he is the man in the video against mounting US evidence that the probability of him is 99.99% and considering that his Pakatan Rakyat colleagues are in deep denial, it is left for Parliament to censure its leader of the opposition.

Anwar should do the honourable thing and resign from office


MULTIPLE expert analyses have now identified Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the man in the sex video.
But his unlikely resignation from public office will remain unlikely, since public interest here is easily shunted aside.

Earlier, a local video professional and a Korean expert had also pronounced the video as genuine and undoctored.

Now Prof Hany Farid and Asst Prof Lorenzo Torresani of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire concur with those findings. Dartmouth is a top-notch Ivy League institution and among the most distinguished educational establishments in the world.

Prof Farid himself, a leading researcher and chair of Dartmouth's Neukom Institute for Computational Science, had even developed some of the latest techniques of video analysis.

All the available evidence and all the best forensic science now point overwhelmingly to Anwar.

Farid and Torresani's findings are said to be of “99.99%” certainty because to be 100% certain, a witness would have to be in the room at the time. That person is Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah, who never had any doubts who was with him in the room.

But none of this will suffice for those who would insist on argument by denial.

A familiar combination of denial, spin and protestation would junk key witness testimony and top forensic analyses.

Reasonable people now know the truth, however much those with desperate political ambitions may deny and distort it.

PKR's partners in DAP and PAS must also know what they are unable to bring themselves to acknowledge publicly.

Adultery or even patronising a prostitute may not seem such a great crime. However, the stakes multiply for a Muslim leader, particularly one with an Islamist background who is aiming for the highest public office in the land.

PAS had earlier said it might have to review its Pakatan partnership with PKR if Anwar is the man in the video. Since there is no longer any reasonable doubt that he is, PAS now has to do the honourable thing as a reputedly forthright party with vaunted moral values.

But if nothing changes within PKR or Pakatan, that should also be no surprise.

In politics, doing what is honourable can often be difficult, especially for those who like to accuse their opponents of all kinds of intrigue and plots.