Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal surprised many and it has surely changed the dynamics of the local political scenario ahead of the coming general election.
In our cover story, P Ramakrishnan looks at the unexpected outcome of the case and believes that public sentiment on the ground played a big role.
Justinian goes on to look at some of the disparities in sentencing in a few recent cases and wonders about the independence of the judiciary especially when those without access to the best lawyers appear in court.
Apart from the judiciary, another institution that has come under scrutiny is the Elections Commission, which has come under intense public pressure to conduct fair elections. In December 2011, Aliran made submissions to the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms when it visited Penang as part of its nationwide road-show to gather public input. Henry Loh writes about what transpired and we reproduce our submissions in this issue and the next.
Meanwhile, university students are stirring again. In a timely piece, Azmil Tayeb highlights the important role of young people in affecting change in society.
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Aliran is saddened by the loss of our long-time friend and supporter, the scholar-activist Philip Khoo Khay Jin, who passed away in December. Khay Jin had written articles including cover stories for Aliran Monthly in the past. We carry impressions of the man by Francis Loh and Khoo Boo Teik and reproduce the eulogy delivered by Andrew Aeria, followed by tributes from a string of friends, activists and fellow academics.