Anwar was guilty of breaking the law and should admit it

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(May,27) The Western media has finally dropped its self-imposed blinkers when it comes to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Until recently he has been the darling of the West, with friends in all the right publications. He only had to grant them a brief interview, and the British and American journalists would trip over themselves writing glowing tributes of Anwar.

Not any longer.

The truth has finally seeped through, and no amount of schmoozing can hide the facts from the world’s press. In the wake of dramatic reforms by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, which have been pitifully countered by aggressive confrontational tactics by Anwar, western journalists have begun to realise the true political situation in our country, finally portraying Anwar not as the victim anymore, but as a calculated politician, who would do anything to take over Putrajaya.

Take this editorial by The Wall Street Journal.

On Thursday, the paper – long one of Anwar’s staunchest defenders in the mat salleh press – sharply criticised the de facto Opposition Leader for “practicing civil disobedience” and attempting to dodge the inevitable consequences.

The Wall Street Journal said Anwar was guilty of breaking the law and should admit it.

“If Mr. Anwar wants to practice civil disobedience, he can’t pretend to be innocent at the same time,” said the respected American newspaper.

The context, of course, was the Government’s decision to charge Anwar, Azmin Ali, and PKR Rembau division chief Badrul Hisham Shaharin under the Peaceful Assembly Act, charges that Anwar denies and (predictably) claims are politically motivated.

But the video evidence is there for the whole world to see, and Anwar is going to find it hard to wriggle out of this one, even among his Western friends, including the Wall Street Journal.

The Economist had previously noted that he has some explaining to do.

The respected London-based news magazine criticised Anwar for “inciting supporters” to break through the barriers at Dataran Merdeka, leading to violent clashes with the police.

“And Mr Anwar had some explaining of his own to do. He was caught on video near one of the police barricades talking to one of his colleagues; critics allege that he was inciting supporters to push aside the barriers. Mr Anwar himself says this is nonsense.”

“Either way, it is clear that Bersih won’t be able to dominate the moral high ground,” The Economist pointed out.

Anwar’s credibility in the West is now at its lowest ebb, following the latest guilty verdict offered by The Wall Street Journal, a newspaper so pro-Anwar that only a few months ago it seemed willing to bend over backwards and even fudge Anwar’s quote on supporting Israel after he had got into trouble with PAS over that gaffe.

The issue now is the inciting of violence, the desire to provoke the police, and the manipulation of his followers, while hijacking Ambiga’s peaceful protest on April 28.

Some of the world’s most respected publications have now come out against Anwar – a dramatic change of his international perception – accusing him of provoking the illegal breach of the police barricades around Dataran Merdeka, and therefore bearing responsibility for the mayhem that followed.

The Wall Street Journal said he should admit his crime.

It also said that he should learn to put his faith “in the electorate rather than the courts.”

With Anwar’s cherished mat salleh press turning against him, this is a strong wake-up call for the Opposition leader and his political strategists. – thechoice