As the verdict for the Sodomy II trial draws closer, a defiant Anwar has vowed to carry on the struggle for political reforms.
He said many people had been asking him what he expected the Federal Court verdict to be on 10 February.
Speaking at a ceramah near the Batu Uban Adun’s Service Centre, a relaxed-looking Anwar told a crowd of several hundred that he was convinced of his innocence under the law.
But if he did end up in jail, he urged the crowd to carry on the political struggle. “Lawan tetap…”
“Lawan!” the crowd roared.
Anwar warned Malaysians not to succumb to irresponsible attempts to manipulate issues of race and religion so that minor matters are blown out of proportion. In contrast, serious corruption did not seem to be a problem for those stirring up such communal sentiments, he noted.
He urged Malaysians to come to the aid of those in need, irrespective of ethnicity, while praising flood relief efforts in the East Coast that crossed the boundaries of ethnicity and religion.
The 67-year-old politician took a jab at a recent call to boycott Chinese businesses that had not lowered their prices. “Sure, I am against unscrupulous traders, but they aren’t limited to any particular ethnic group.”
People should be asking why TNB tariffs had remain unchanged. “Why are they silent about this? Is it because it is their people who are in charge there, and it is easier to bully the small traders instead?”
He said that the country was facing serious economic problems.
It was time for us as a nation to reflect on the disasters and tragic incidents we experienced last year and discern where we as a nation had gone wrong, he said, noting that some saw this series of bad news as a test from God.
As he left the venue, heading for a larger ceramah in Ampang Jajar on the mainland tonight, the thunderous drums of lion dancers reverberated in the evening air while the thumps of Indian drums joined in the rhythmic din.
Nearby, small traders were setting up stalls for the weekly pasar malam. It seemed like just another ordinary evening.
And yet, behind this ordinariness, a nation awaits with bated breath the outcome of Anwar’s trial, a question that is never far from the lips of coffee-shop talk.
Whichever way it goes, the verdict will surely come under the spotlight of the international media and have far-reaching implications for domestic politics, including Umno’s own internal factional struggles, and the credibility of the current administration.
Anwar himself sounded upbeat. “The majority of the people, 52 per cent, voted for us. And if I am jailed again, we will win 60 per cent of the vote (the next time)!”