PKR slams ‘vicious’ appeal by Putrajaya in seeking longer jail sentence on Anwar

Anwar Ibrahim

Looi Sue-Chern, The Malaysian Insider

Putrajaya’s application to enhance Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s jail sentence for his sodomy conviction is vicious and politically motivated, said PKR vice-president N. Surendran.

The lawyer said the cross-appeal, which is also selectively done, should be dropped immediately.

Surendran accused Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Barisan Nasional (BN) government of being wholly responsible for the latest persecution of Anwar.

“It is clear that Umno and BN’s intention is to end Anwar’s political challenge to the ruling BN coalition. They want to do this by seeking a longer jail sentence,” he said in a statement today.

Anwar, who is convicted of sodomising his former aide last month, has been slapped with a five-year prison term.

The opposition leader has filed an appeal, but Putrajaya has cross-appealed, seeking to enhance the five-year jail sentence.

Surendran, who is also Padang Serai MP, said BN has consistently used the police, judiciary and the Attorney-General to intimidate, persecute and jail opposition and civil society leaders since independence.

“Umno and the PM’s personal involvement in trying to jail Anwar is made obvious by the appointment of Najib’s personal lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to prosecute Anwar.

“The selective nature of the government’s cross-appeal in Anwar’s case is obvious when compared to the decision not to appeal in cases which involved BN leaders’ interests,” he said.

Surendran cited the acquittals of political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda in the murder case of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, and former transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in the Port Klang Free Zone scandal.

He said the prosecution “to the shock and disgust of the nation” never filed any appeals against the acquittals in the two high-profile cases.

“The government’s corrupt and  underhand attempt to jail Anwar is a frontal assault upon our system of parliamentary democracy.

“The government must drop the cross-appeal immediately, publicly state that they will not oppose Anwar’s appeal against conviction, and apologise for the wrongs done to him and to the Malaysian public’s sense of justice,” he said.