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Adjournment Likely for Appeal Against Anwar’s Acquittal – Meaning More Headlines for Pakatan’s Martyr in Residence

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AnwarIbrahim-lOn Monday morning, Malaysia was all set for Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Sodomy II case to rear its head again, providing yet more sympathetic photo opportunities for the doe-eyed ringleader of the 'Black 505' rallies.

The plan was for the Government's appeal against his acquittal last year to be heard over two days at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya.

In January last year, High Court judge Datuk Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah acquitted Anwar of sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, ruling that he could not be 100 per cent certain that DNA samples had not been tampered with.

Twenty-seven prosecution witnesses and seven defence witnesses testified at the trial, which spanned more than three years and accrued the sort of column inches you simply can't pay for.

These were written and read both nationally and in the international press where he cemented his (now tattered) reputation as Malaysia's martyred son.

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PAS Set to Suffer with High Voter Turnout

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BN-Flags-KBThe Election Commission has said that everything points to a high voter turn-out this Wednesday at the by-election for the Kuala Besut state seat.

EC Deputy Chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said that the figure was likely to be in excess of 75 per cent, particularly given the huge nationwide publicity given to proceedings so far.

"Even though July 24 is a weekday, we expect voter turnout to be high. Many voters who live outside the constituency work in nearby places like Kuala Terengganu," he said, also announcing the time that the results would be released.

"Since it is Ramadan, many of them would want to go to the mosques to pray first. Therefore, the results would be announced at 10pm at the earliest. Otherwise, we wouldn't be respecting them."

In all, some 98.71 per cent of Kuala Besut's 17,679 eligible voters are Malays. Ordinarily this might sound promising for a party like PAS, however given that at GE13 the seat fell so heavily in favour of Barisan Nasional's Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar that seems unlikely.

It must be remembered that PAS' formula since 2008 has been to heavily engage the Chinese population in a seat and split the Malay vote – a formula that does not appear likely to work here.

In fact, what would undoubtedly suit Pakatan Rakyat's Islamist wing more would be an extremely low turn-out in which only their heavily motivated minority of supporters made an appearance at the polling booths.

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Transparency International’s Empty Office Politics is Just a Distraction

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TI-logo-croppedIt's hard to imagine what the reaction will be at the Berlin headquarters of Transparency International to a petition alleging gender discrimination at its Malaysian branch.

Malaysia Insider has duly reported Saturday that the alleged victim of this discrimination is executive committee (exco) member and outgoing secretary-general Josie Fernandez, but news of the gender discrimination allegation has bemused newly elected TI-M secretary-general Dr Loi Kheng Min, who responded: "I do not understand. There has never been any discrimination at all."

If he is surprised by these claims, then imagine how the international HQ of Transparency International will react to an online petition containing just 70 signatures. Given this organisation's expertise is probing the machinations of governments and seeing through the agendas of politicians, it might just smell a rat.

The global TI leadership will remember that TI-M's Malaysian founder Datuk Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim became a thorn in the side of DAP ahead of GE13, after he was squeezed from the party by secretary general Lim Guan Eng for daring to challenge the legitimacy of Bersih 3.0.

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Australia's “Day of Shame” Could Have Been Averted by Malaysia Solution

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AustraliaSolutionAustralia faces international condemnation over its latest solution to asylum seekers arriving on its shores by boat. Once they arrive at Christmas Island – Australia's most western territory just 400km from the coast of Indonesia – they will be flown 4,500km to Papua New Guinea, which is being paid by the Australian Government to take the people it doesn't want.

The plan, cooked up by resurrected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who snatched back the top job in a party coup this month, is his big pitch to voters ahead of the Australian election in September. The asylum seeker issue is hugely contentious down under and there are votes in his strategy.

But NGOs are up in arms, saying the Government is denying these desperate boat people their right to apply for asylum in Australia, given that they are to be deposited in a third country.

The Australian Green Party Leader, Christine Milne, said Rudd's announcement was a "day of shame for Australia" that Canberra should "pay our most impoverished neighbour" so it could "dump" people out of sight and out of mind.

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Bersih Outlines Its Terms for Its “People’s Tribunal”: More Farce than Moral Force

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Ambiga-aJust when we thought that everyone – except Anwar of course – had finally accepted the outcome of GE13, along comes Bersih with yet another exercise aimed at dwelling on the past.

The "Bersih People's Tribunal" was announced in May but on Friday, it made public its terms. It is calling on citizens to provide evidence of electoral fraud and irregularities during GE13 by lodging a written complaint to Bersih by August 16, 2013.

Bersih founder Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has already admitted it will have absolutely no power to accomplish, well, anything. But she said it will serve as a "moral force" to publicly expose electoral fraud.

This really is too much. Bersih, a movement which has been on a downward spiral since its violent rally in April last year, has since then resorted to a series of stunts that succeed only in underscoring its declining relevance.

This "tribunal" comes in the wake of the Government's decision to review the Election Commission with cross-party support. In other words, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is way ahead of it in terms of acknowledging that the way we vote needs to change.

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