By Zurairi AR
KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — The political conspiracy claims by Saiful Bukhari Azlan’s father about his son’s sodomy complaint against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will have little impact on the general election and will be eclipsed by other issues, say analysts.
Questions also have been raised over the timing of Azlan Mohd Lazim’s revelation on Friday describing an “evil conspiracy” behind the opposition leader’s second sodomy charge, and his subsequent apology to Anwar’s family.
“I suppose it’s all related to the election, even Saiful’s father is willing to come out and speak up,” Merdeka Center for Opinion Research director Ibrahim Suffian told The Malaysian Insider.
“It (happened) before the elections, so that there will be more time (for the issue) to be discussed prior to the campaigning period.”
Ibrahim expressed dismay that the ugly issue has once again reared its head, which will further sensationalise the political scene in the country.
He suggested that PKR had the most to gain, as Azlan’s (picture) revelation appeared to implicate the country’s leadership, by linking the Prime Minister’s Office and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail in the conspiracy.
“Anwar has been accused in the past, but the statement by Saiful’s father changes how the storyline goes so far,” said Ibrahim, who run’s the widely respected polling agency.
“It further points to the impression that Anwar is innocent,” he added.
Anwar’s acquittal last year has also factored in support for his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact and that most Malaysians generally viewed the prosecution with some scepticism.
PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat had also said over the weekend that Anwar’s reputation was getting cleaner by the day following the latest revelations.
“Lies will one day be revealed ... It’s impossible for Anwar to pay Saiful’s father off, especially when Cabinet ministers earn much more than Anwar,” Nik Aziz was quoted in the Saturday editon of the Malay-language daily Sinar Harian.
UiTM political science lecturer Asri Salleh conceded that the issue could be played up by both Barisan Nasional (BN) and PR, as both sides could potentially lose or gain ground from the issue.
“This issue will not last long. Kejap je panas (It’s a hot issue for just a short time),” Asri told The Malaysian Insider.
“There are much bigger issues like the Ops Daulat,” he said, referring to the operation, now in its seventh day, by the security forces to flush out the remaining armed Filipino intruders in Lahad Datu, Sabah.
But Asri said Azlan’s credibility was now in question as his revelation was a reversal of his earlier statement, much like private investigator P. Balasubramaniam’s controversial second sworn statement on the 2006 murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Balasubramaniam made a second statutory declaration (SD) just a day after his first on July 3, 2008, about Altantuya’s 2006 murder which saw two police commandos convicted and facing death sentences.
Azlan had always stood by his son, pleading with the Attorney-General to appeal Anwar’s acquittal in January last year, vowing he would “fight to the end” to seek justice for the former aide to Anwar.
Assoc Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) School of Social Sciences deputy dean, criticised Azlan for contradicting his son’s claims.
“It’s hard to see what it is that Azlan wanted to bring. If what he said is true, surely they would’ve faced it together, not individually, since it was his own son who was involved,” Sivamurugan was quoted in a Sinar Harian report over the weekend.
In a heavily-guarded press conference on Friday, Azlan said the plot was planned by a special officer in the Prime Minister’s Department and was engineered to tarnish Anwar’s image with another sodomy charge, the opposition leader’s second since he lost his post in government in 1998.
The 60-year-old was without his son at the press conference called by PKR’s Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul. Later that evening, Saiful repudiated his father’s revelation.
On January 9 last year, the High Court acquitted and discharged Anwar of sodomising Saiful, 27, at a Desa Damansara condominium unit in Bukit Damansara here between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.
The veteran politician, who had earlier sued Saiful for wrongfully accusing him of sodomy, later withdrew the suit, saying his reputation had been vindicated by the acquittal.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers has appealed the acquittal, however, and hearing in the Court of Appeal has been set for July 22.