Prof Datuk Dr Sidek Baba stressed that he is an academician and he has no political reason to reveal who Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is. (Graphic by Dayang Norazhar/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: After 30 years of being a staunch supporter and a think-tank for Parti Keadilan Rakyat's de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Prof Datuk Dr Sidek Baba decided that he should abandon Anwar's struggle.
Describing Anwar as a man who has serious problems with morals and integrity, Sidek said people, particularly leaders from Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) and Pas, should evaluate whether Anwar is indeed a fighter for Islam as he has been portraying himself.
Speaking with a group of reporters, Sidek also shared some details of his private session with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, where they spoke on a few sensitive issues about Anwar.
During the interview, he shared things he had discussed in the meeting, why he left Anwar, and why Anwar should not be trusted.
Following are excerpts of the interview:
Q: Earlier you said that you were meeting Tun just to be "enlightened" and to get rid of uncertainties. Could you share with us what kind of uncertainties?
A: Obviously people were asking, why so late (in revealing this issue)? Why do you want to make your appearance now? Was it because we're getting nearer to the General Election? Obviously not.
I asked Tun when it was that he realised this (Anwar's problem). He told me that he knew about this long ago, but he did not simply trust the information he had been given.
Tun told me that he wouldn’t just simply accept it without proper investigation because it was probably just a plan to overthrow Anwar. Tun told me that he was serious about stepping down (as the Prime Minister) and making Anwar his successor.
But Tun told me that after everything was clear, he decided that Anwar could not be the Prime Minister because of this morality and credibility issue. Tun was worried that Anwar as a Prime Minister might be an easy target for people inside or outside the country should they know his dark secrets.
I asked the statesman about one of the chapters in his famous book 'A Doctor In The House'. There was a chapter where Tun revealed his secret meeting with four women who had had relationships with Anwar. Tun told those women that they should tell the truth and not be afraid. If we read that book we will know what it was all about.
My question is, the statement from the chapter was so damaging, but why didn't Anwar take legal action against Tun or even dare to say anything about it?
I am a man with integrity. Even if someone accuses me of stealing a chicken, I will definitely file a suit against that person.
A leader should have integrity. That's why Tun said he wouldn't let a leader with integrity problems be his successor.
When we talked about the economic crisis we had (1997-98), Tun told me that Anwar had tried to bring in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but Tun did not let it happen.
You see, Tun has very good observations because he is a rational man. He determines something based on facts, not emotion. Some might think a few decisions he made were not popular.
For example, he told me about the Baling Incident. Tun said it was impossible that people in the area were suffering due to starvation. In Malaysia, it has always been our culture to help people in need.
But due to that incident, students held demonstrations. Tun said he was sad because most of the students were Malays. They preferred to join demonstrations and abandoned their studies. I knew this because (Datuk) Ibrahim Ali (Member of Parliament for Pasir Mas) was Anwar's good friend, Tun's friend and even my friend. I asked Ibrahim about this (the student demonstrations) and he said he had been one of the hardcore demonstrators.
The point is, Tun's views remained unchallenged. I've asked people to debate and challenge his views and decisions.
Take the Baling crisis, for example. It has to be debated so we can figure out where the proof is. But people are quick to conclude that it was just a conspiracy. They even said I was part of a conspiracy, they accused me of being bought. But where is the proof?
Taking the second sodomy case, for example, Anwar said the judge was tyrannical, that the case was done in a kangaroo court. But why he was freed? Why is there no more talk about it all being just a conspiracy?
I like to point out that we should never insult someone's intellect. My friends have been open on this because they are academicians. Academia teaches us how to judge the pros and cons to find a conclusion.
Like I said earlier, I'm an academician and I've been doing all these investigations by getting accurate facts. And as a Muslim, I perform Istikharah.
Q: When you decided to abandon Anwar and revealed those reasons why you left him, what did your friends in Abim have to say about this, and what about your students?
A: Obviously I have received mixed reactions. But I have the patience to deal with conflicts of views. If he thinks I was wrong, or his opinion is against mine, he can come and see me. (Probably) they did not know that Anwar has been painting his image positively until these people just can't accept the fact the he is not. Even Tun at first had positive thoughts about Anwar.
For me to reveal my findings was not easy. If people want to ask me about the truth, then I'll be more than glad to welcome the person. But somehow some people decided to attack me in social media. They were quick in making the perception that I was wrong without even hearing my opinions first.
Is that the current trend of our society? Bloggers for example should have the initiative to ask. There might be something that I just can't reveal but I've done enough for people to know. Be fair to me.
Speaking of students' perceptions. A few higher education institutes like Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) invited me earlier and even Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) has invited me to give talks all over the country. I will try to meet as many people as possible to touch on this issue.
One thing that people should know is that I don't have any intention to humiliate Anwar, but since I'm a Muslim, I have been taught that we have to do everything we can to prevent misconduct.
Some people said I have been unfair to Anwar since he appointed my as deputy rector during his tenure as Deputy Prime Minister. But the issue is the truth against lies. I can't just zip my mouth if I know that something is wrong. Because I am answerable to Allah.
For the record, never once did I accuse him of being involved in sodomy or free sex. All I said is, I've done my research, I've figured out that he is a man with no credibility. So I can't force myself to be with him. It is my right do so and please be fair to me.
Q: We all know that Anwar loves to debate with someone who is against him. What will your decision be if he asks you to debate with him?
A: Obviously Anwar has the ability to debate. He has been a debater one since his time as a student leader. That was his specialty.
But if you ask me, debate for what? Truth or just for the sake of twisting words? Let's talk about (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak) for example. He likes to give talks, but his talks have content.
When it comes to Anwar, all he did was give rhetorical speeches, but zero on implementation. I also used to debate, but to debate with someone like Anwar, it just won't happen.
Q: There was a controversy in Johor recently when Anwar's choice of candidate, one of the Abim leaders, was not well-received by PKR grassroots members. But it was said that there is a plan to parachute more Abim leaders as PKR candidates for the upcoming GE. Any comment?
A: I'm trying to be as non-partisan as possible, but based on my observations, I would agree that there will be more Abim leaders in the political arena. This somehow is different from during Anwar's tenure as the deputy Prime Minister. During that time Abim was a non-partisan non-governmental organisation (NGO).
Abim is a missionary body that educates people about Islam. If someday Abim starts to have political inclinations, what will happen to it in the longer term? I am an Abim member and I always have that pride to be one. Because in Abim I had the chance to be what I am today.
Some people may agree to disagree, its up to them. We can have different opinions but they must be underpinned by ethics.
I am different because I do research. I conclude based on facts. When we talk about Anwar, there will be strong protests by his hardcore supporters. If I can take the effort to find these 28 people, why couldn't they do the same?
Yes, some information couldn't be accepted, but we have the intellectual capcity needed to judge. Like I said, I was educated by Abim to not make assumptions, but to investigate to find the truth. Because that was what Abim was all about. I still remember the days whe (Datuk Dr) Siddiq Fadzil was the president of Abim and I was the secretary-general. We looked at things Anwar did during his days in the government, and if we found out that he did something that wass unacceptable, we criticised him in a proper way.
When we're talking about Umno, is it true that Umno rejects Islam? Recently I was involved in a meeting about establishing a University of al-Quran in Malaysia. Is that rejecting Islam? The university will give the chance for students to expand their education in human sciences, humanity, technology, pharmacy...is that not good for Islam? We can see Islamic-based banking institutions, we have Takaful, we have Islamic bonds. Should this be considered rejecting Islam? Are the teachings of Islam limited only to ritual?
Let's look a simpler thing. We have highways, and even complemented with rest and recreation (R&R) areas. And not to be forgotten, places where Muslims can perform their prayers. Is that non-Islamic? Is giving assistance to the poor people against Islam's principles?
Why can't we look at a broader perspective?
Note: The Mole will be publishing a series of articles and interviews with Dr Sidek Baba. This is the first.