‘Govt has nothing to do with Saiful’s appeal’

(New Straits Times) – The appeal against the acquittal and discharge of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the charge of sodomising his former aide has nothing to do with the government or Barisan Nasional (BN).

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak stressed that the case involved an individual, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, and the Attorney-General’s Chambers had given a clear explanation on its decision to appeal.

He was commenting on the tendency of certain parties to implicate the government in the sodomy case and the decision to appeal.

The A-G’s Chambers had on Friday filed a notice of appeal against the acquittal and discharge of Anwar on the sodomy charge.

In a statement, the A-G’s Chambers had said the decision to file the notice of appeal was made solely based on evidence and in accordance with the law.

Judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah had on Jan 9 acquitted Anwar.

Speaking to reporters after launching the national-level “Ihsan Samudera” programme here, Najib said it was wrong to claim that the sodomy charge against Anwar was  to smear him.

“He was charged after an individual lodged a report. Under the law, everyone has the same rights, regardless of their status,” he said, adding that Malaysia should not have  different sets of law for the opposition and the government.

Najib also hit out at the opposition which practised double standards in many respects.

“They always talk about democracy, but at the same time only allow certain media organisations to attend their press conferences and ban others.

“If they subscribe to media freedom, they should never ban the media from covering their events,” he said.

On Anwar’s statement that certain archaic laws should be amended, the prime minister said such actions should only be taken if the acts no longer protect the people.

“The laws are formulated in the interests of the people, They should not be amended if society says that they should be maintained,” he said.

Commenting on the study by the Universiti Malaya’s Centre for Democracy & Elections that 43 per cent of the people were confident that the BN would be returned to power in the next general election, Najib said: “I’m excited if there is such a report.”

He said he believed that the main  factor for the significant change of perception towards BN was the public’s confidence on the transformation agenda that could help turn Malaysia into a developed nation.

Earlier, Najib  met 300 Pahang BN division and branch leaders in a closed-door meeting at Yayasan Pahang headquarters.

Najib, who is BN chairman, had among others shared the strategies that had to be implemented by the leaders to ensure the coalition’s victory in the forthcoming general election.

Among those present were menteri besar and Pahang BN chairman Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and MCA deputy-president and Pahang chairman Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.