WHETHER Dr Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid – the man at the centre of the latest controversy surrounding opposition icon Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the sodomy allegations– is in hiding or on an extended family holiday, is a moot point.
Like private investigator Balasubramaniam Perumal @ P.I. Bala, who fled the country on July 3 after retracting an explosive statutory declaration, Dr Mohamed Osman left behind many unanswered questions.
Dr Mohamed Osman @ Than Aung also set off a furious guessing game over who he really is and where he fits into the raging controversy centred on police investigation into a June 28 report made by Anwar’s aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan that the former deputy premier had sodomised him.
While mainstream newspapers are cautious, it is a free-for-all on the Internet with bloggers recklessly dissecting Dr Mohamed Osman’s explosive two-page medical report, if you can call it that, and posting their verdicts.
With powerful Internet search engines at their fingertips, no stone is left unturned.
“The frenzy is frightening. The innocent is declared guilty and the guilty presented as innocent. We don’t know what to believe,” said a lawyer who is keenly tracking the controversy.
“I have already accumulated a huge archive,” he said.
Dr Mohamed Osman might be a Burmese national but he is no stranger to Muslim organisations in Malaysia, especially missionary Muslim organisations like the Regional Islamic Da’wah Council of Southeast Asia and the Pacific or RISEAP (founded in 1980) for which he worked from 1993 to 1995.
According to the Malaysian Medical Council website he graduated from the University of Rangoon –Rangoon Medical College and having practised in various places, received a “full registration” in December 2005.
He worked between 1995 and 1998 in Lawas, Sarawak and then at the University Malaya Medical Centre.
His sojourn at the university hospital until 2007 coincides with the time Saiful was a student – setting off speculation on the Internet that there could be a connection between the two although what that is and how it figures in the current controversy is anybody’s guess.
Saiful was never at University Malaya but at Universiti Tenaga Nasional.
Some Internet writers are stretching it by connecting Dr Mohamed Osman with Anwar because for a while, (when Anwar was deputy prime Minister) he was a Supreme Council member of RISEAP which is a premier missionary organisation in the Asian region.
Other senior Malaysian politicians are also closely involved with RISEAP, so for Anwar to be a council member is nothing unusual.
But Internet conspiracy theories are not to be deterred by such thin links but happily hatching whole new threads linking the good doctor with the troubled politician and a worldwide network involving America, the World Bank and the IMF.
But then what is the Internet without its conspiracies.
Like P.I. Bala, Dr Mohamed Osman is “missing on the scene” but by now his medical report must have been read and dissected by millions of people both here and abroad.
Some blogs are not only deciphering the doctor’s difficult-to-read scrawl but also translations for Malay and Chinese readers.
According to reports Dr Mohamed Osman purportedly said in his report that there was “zero active bleeding,” “zero ulcer or pus” and “zero tear and scar” in the anus of Saiful.
He had also advised Saiful to go to a government hospital so as “to rule out” assault and sodomy.
For some the report’s authenticity is suspect while for Anwar the two-page document is evidence of his innocence.
He wants police to drop the case immediately and call it a day but Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar has said the probe will continue to its natural conclusion.
In the meantime the country is hit by rumours of an imminent arrest of Anwar, fuelled once again by reports on the Internet.
“Many things have been said and reported that are not true,” said deputy IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar. “Police have been very transparent and professional in handling this case.”
In time, his statement might turn out to be prophetic.
However any further delay in the investigation is unwelcome, not only by Malaysians but also by foreign investors whose nervousness at “where is this all leading too” is plain.
Transparency International Malaysia President Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam says the investigation must be expedited in the light of the revelations of Dr Mohamed Osman’s report.
“It is a pressing issue and must be resolved without any further delay,” he said.
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