(The Malaysian Insider) - Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have questioned Datuk Yusof Zainal Abiden’s entry into Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s legal team, saying it raised doubt over the opposition chief’s acquittal of sodomy just four months ago in which the former Solicitor-General II led the prosecution.
They told The Malaysian Insider that Yusof’s move was “unprofessional” as it damaged public perception of the trial which lasted two years and saw Pakatan Rakyat (PR) repeatedly claim that evidence had been tampered with.
“He should not have joined Anwar as it creates doubt in people’s minds that he purposely made the (sodomy) case fail,” Umno’s Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad said yesterday.
His fellow BN backbencher from Pasir Salak, Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, also said Yusof’s “integrity is in question as some may think he was a ‘Trojan horse’ and colluded with Anwar in the sodomy trial and was not serious about getting a conviction.”
The sodomy charge, which was the second that Anwar has faced in just over a decade, had garnered international attention, with the opposition leader and other critics claiming it was politically motivated.
But Anwar claimed a symbolic victory on Tuesday in having the former No. 3 in the Attorney-General’s Chambers join his defence against an illegal assembly charge, claiming that Yusof did not want to be a part of what he called the “dirtiness”.
The PKR de facto leader pointed out that if Yusof truly thought he was guilty, then the former solicitor-general, who only recently left the civil service, would not have agreed to join his legal team in the case related to the April 28 Bersih rally.
“Yusof came here with full commitment and his performance today is proof that he only wants justice to be served,” he said.
“Anwar called me last night and I had no hesitation,” Yusof told The Malaysian Insider when approached on Tuesday.
But the Bar Council has pointed out that under the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978, Yusof must accept any case in which he professes to practice at the proper professional fee dependent on the length and difficulty of the case, but special circumstances, including conflict of interest, may justify a refusal.