DATUK Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been busted again, playing both sides of the coin when he should have picked one and be done with it. But then, it's an Anwar speciality over the years he's been grating the public consciousness.
This time though, his duality -- this split personality meandering on human rights issues -- is his own doing, one that invited a stricture that, surprisingly, didn't bore from a Federal Government leader, backer or blogger.
It was unloaded by Human Rights Watch's (Asia division) Phil Robertson, an ally fuming at Anwar's doublespeak uttered during his revealing testimony in his lawsuit against Utusan Malaysia last week.
Responding to defence counsel's questions, Anwar the plaintiff explicitly agreed that homosexuals should be discriminated to protect the sanctity of marriage. Full stop? Not quite. It was not the point that Anwar wanted to make as he insisted that "archaic" laws should be reviewed to prevent punishment of the innocent.
Defence lawyer Datuk Firoz Hussein's question could not have been clearer: "Should we discriminate against homosexuals?" Firoz asked. "Yes" was Anwar's emphatic reply.
Anwar went on: "We don't give space to homosexuals and uphold the sanctity of marriage...the law must be crafted in a way we must believe the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman...we do not promote homosexuality."
Anwar had a partisan reflection when he articulated why Malaysia's anti-homosexual laws were "archaic", illustrating something that seemed "personal" when he intoned, "legislation to punish innocent people should not be condoned or tolerated".
When pressed to elaborate on why he considered existing laws against unnatural sex under Section 377 of the Penal Code to be "archaic", Anwar was more direct: "...because it is hardly used and only used for political reasons".
That's Anwar speciality, that ability to tie you up in literary knots even under oath. For the general populace, he wants homosexuals discriminated -- banned, barred, isolated or alienated -- yet he wants "archaic" laws governing the counter-culture to be reformed. Which is it?
Robertson wasn't having any of Anwar's nonsensical flip-flops, directly denouncing his anti-gay position as "shameful", "fundamentally wrong" while accusing him of playing politics with civil liberties.
"While this might be a good vote-getting strategy in some parts of Malaysia, his claim shamefully runs completely contrary to the central principle of non-discrimination in international human rights law," was Robertson's rants against Anwar, picked up in a statement the HRW issued last week.
Bang goes Anwar's carefully manufactured reputation as an international human rights advocate. The malarkey of his global pulpit, centred upon caressing his image in the likes of civil rights battlers Aung San Suu Kyi, is exposed as untenable when it comes to defending political self-preservation, especially his vested interest with Islamic allies Pas and a host of like-minded religious jurors.
To be sure, Robertson would just have imposed a similar judgment against the Federal Government, but there are diametric differences: whereas Anwar speaks with a forked tongue, the Barisan Nasional has consistently insisted that gays have no role to play in the mainstream.
To be plain, Anwar is a hypocrite (by Robertson's angry diatribe) and a liar (by the rants of disappointed supporters) as he speaks for the downtrodden before international audiences, but deserts them at home. On the other hand, the Federal Government opposes -- as representative of the moral/religious majority and a matter of national law/policy -- the LGBT (Lesbians Gays Bisexual Transgender) movement propelled by Bersih leader Datuk S. Ambiga.
Going by the consistency of his ironies and deceptions, Anwar wants to be a man of all seasons for everybody and if he trips on his convoluted political rhetoric, that's fine because in his mind, enough people have the required gullibility to believe in his "heartfelt" empathy.
Until someone like Robertson comes along to fiercely prick Anwar's hydrogen-inflated and moveable balloon.