The election campaign of Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, hit new depths yesterday with the allegation that the wife of his chief political rival, the jailed Anwar Ibrahim, had sought a divorce, writes John Gittings in Kuala Lumpur. Dr Wan Azizah `asked for divorce twice over the years after she found out `the truth’ about (Anwar),’ the pro-government Sun tabloid reported on its front page.
The not-so-subtle insinuation is that Wan Azizah had learnt about her husband’s alleged bisexual behaviour – a charge which he says has been fabricated by his political enemies. The story also claims that she was beaten by Anwar when she asked for a divorce a second time.
Wan Azizah has dismissed it as `totally unfounded’. Anwar is standing trial on sodomy charges which Dr Mahathir has several times declared to be proven. No action has been taken against the Prime Minister for his statements which, like yesterday’s article, appear to be in contempt of court.
The source for the Sun’s story is Khairuddin Abu Hassan, Anwar’s cousin. The Sun also quotes an official in the Prime Minister’s department, Abdul Hamid Othman, saying there had been a `family dispute between husband and wife’.
The star witness in the Anwar affair is the sultry Ummi Hafilda Ali, whose appearances at Anwar’s first trial made her a national celebrity.
On Friday, a thousand voters heard her give an impassioned account of how she followed her sister-in-law to an apartment block and then accused her of sleeping with Anwar. Both the sister-in-law and her husband – Anwar’s former private secretary who is now an opposition candidate – have denied her claim.
The government’s obsession with the jailed former Deputy Prime Minister has grown daily throughout the short campaign. `It’s really a contest between Mahathir and Anwar’, says one Malaysian journalist. `The problem simply will not go away.’
Yet, till present day Wan Azizah never did get her day in court and her matrimony annulled.
After all, Anwar did not wed her in an auspicious event with her consent of her father. It was said she eloped with him to Thailand, to be in union with then a fiery student leader, who keeps getting into one trouble after another. Like being detained under ISA for instigating the 1974 students riot, for a yet to be proven “Death in Baling due to perils of poverty”.
Despite suffering in silent, the purpose of politics and Wan Azizah’s own political expediency as a President political party Anwar Ibrahim has been portrayed a dotting husband, married to Wan Azizah the model timid wife who had to endure the challenges of being the wife of a victimised politician by the very cruel and oppressing regime.
What ever Nurul Izzah’s marital issues are, it cannot be bigger, more challenging and complex to those faced by her mother.
Hence, it is undoubtedly Wan Azizah is the best consultant for her. It has worked for the political expediency of Anwar Ibrahim, since 15 years ago since he was sacked from Cabinet and UMNO and the mobstreet movement of ‘Reformasi’ was launched. Wan Azizah has been the formidable pillar of granite for Anwar, which is purpose of so many got hoodwinked into the notion of Anwar being victimised, by a corrupt regime struggling to maintain power for the sake of multiple rings of cronies.
Even when he was caught on video red handed with the Chinadoll almost two years ago and the specially ordered Omega went missing. Wan Azizah maintained her equivocal steadfast of innocence and purity of the model wife.
Or has the gold Omega actually re-appeared but Wan Azizah still purposely has not made it known to the media, so that she has a strategic tool against so many people?
Regardless, probably Nurul Izzah has her own ‘Omega’ story too. As they say in Malay, “Kemana tumpahnya kuah kalau tidak ke nasi?” (Where should the gravy go if not on the rice?)