Laman KM2: 6929 KM2 Index File Size: 3.2 Kb

MGG: A long-awaited bomb scare complicates a long-awaited appeal
By M.G.G. Pillai

27/3/2002 11:48 am Wed

01-15 April 2002


A long-awaited bomb scare complicates a long-awaited Federal Court appeal

If what happened on Monday, 25 Nov 02, is to go by, only one man could unsettle the Barisan Nasional government of Dato' Seri Mahathir Mohamed: Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The scene: the Federal Court. About 150, a sixth of the crowd at the earlier hearing in February, men and women crowded the entrance to the heavily guarded and barred gate. About 500 policemen, in uniform and mufti, including bomb disposal squads, was there to provide security, although it did occur to some it was to threaten, and allow as few as possible into the building. Inexplicably, the issuing of passes were suspended. No one knew why. There was a bomb threat. The court rooms were cleared.

In the Federal Court, the infirm Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim is wheeled into court. When the court room is cleared, no one moves. Not until they had a chance to talk to the prisoner. Then they sauntered out of the building. No panic. No explanation. All, including the police, sauntered as if to their offices after the obligatory mid-morning "teh tarik". It was a while before word of the bomb scare reached outside. The police made no special moves. The road in front of the court building was as usual full of mid-morning traffic. No one ordered or thought of closing the road, which it should have in a bomb scare.

An unattended bag was found at one side of the building. But the man who pointed it out to the police, a Keadilan member, was taken in for questioning. How the police treated the bag was pure and simple comedy. Onlookers were pushed back a hundred or so yards away. The area was cordoned off. But occasionally a group of police officers sauntered past the bag, looking as one would vegetables at the "pasar malam". No one in authority thought that if the bag had contained much powerful explosives, it could have blowed the whole place up. No order was made to vacate the nearby buildings.

The fifty day of Dato' Seri Anwar's appeal was postponed yet again. In the afternoon, it was postponed to Tuesday. At press time, it is not known if the proceedings went on as usual. If this is how the police and its much vaunted bomb squad looks at an emergency, one wonders how they would cope with a real emergency? Or was it meant to be a diversion, there was no bomb, and it was to delay the hearing beyond 31 March 2002, so an adverse decision -- i.e. his appeal succeeds -- would not upst the Ketari byelection? The whole episode seems so amateurish that it left more mud on the police than if nothing had happened. Meanwhile, the police issued passes at the Federal Court only for those who wanted to observe the Anwar appeal. The passes had words to that effect. -- MGG

M.G.G. Pillai