Anwar claims Umno, EC behind court ruling

Anwar Ibrahim

(MM) – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed today that his five year jail sentence for sodomy is a plot by Umno, which dominates the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, and the Elections Commission to derail Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) campaign to win the Kajang by-election.

The opposition leader alleged there were obvious discrepancies in the way the case was handled, like the timing of the appeal proceeding and the the judges’ eagerness to hand down the  lengthy jail  sentence.

“When the Certificate of Urgency was presented all five judges sat down for one and a half hours to deliberate..usually the prosecution would ask for one or two weeks for sentencing.

“One of the judges made a mistake by saying this is a special case, this is an exception,” Anwar told a press conference held at the sidelines of PR’s fifth national convention here.

“This is the trend by Umno. They know they will be heavily defeated in Kajang so they immediately use the courts,” he added.

Malaysia’s Court of Appeal yesterday overturned Anwar’s acquittal by a lower court in 2012.

Also present at the news conference , DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang said the court ruling has destroyed any credibility left in Malaysia’s judiciary.

He noted the attempt by previous prime minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration to restore confidence in the courts when it compensated the Supreme Court judges involved in a crisis surrounding the judiciary in 1988.

“What happened yesterday destroyed the hope,” he said.

Lim also noted that the Court of Appeal had set the hearing just two weeks before the Kajang by-election kicked off, suggesting conspiracy.

Anwar said PR has not discussed if it would take the streets and launch “Reformasi 2.0” to protest the verdict but that the matter will be discussed today.

PKR is also expected to name it’s Kajang replacement candidate later in the evening, the opposition leader revealed.

Anwar was yesterday sentenced to five years’ jail after the Court of Appeal overturned a previous High Court decision acquitting him of sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Under Article 64(4) of the Selangor state constitution states that a person who is convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for more than a year, or fined more than RM2,000, cannot be elected into the state legislative assembly, even if an appeal is filed.

But Anwar, who is still the MP for Pematang Pauh, based on Article 48(4)(b) of the Federal Constitution, will be able to retain his seat until apex court disposes of the appeal.

The conviction could also affect Anwar plan to contest in PKR party polls next month.

Anwar was first convicted of sodomy and corruption in 1999, following his sacking from the Cabinet the year before. The sodomy conviction was later overturned in 2004.