Tamparan kepada kebebasan kehakiman

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A crowd gathers outside court today

Gabungan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih 2.0) amat hampa bawaha Mahkamah Persekutuan telah menegakkan keputusan Mahkamah Rayuan tentang kes liwat kedua Ketua Pembangkang Anwar Ibrahim, dengan menerima hujah yang langsung tidak kukuh dan tidak menghiraukan kelemahan yang serius dalam kes ini.

A crowd gathers outside court today
A crowd gathers outside court today

Ia merupakan perbicaraan politik dari mula lagi, dan keputusannya mengukuhkan lagi hakikat ini.

Hukuman penjara lima tahun yang dikenakan kepada Anwar mengakhiri kerjaya politik seorang pemimpin yang sepatutnya menjadi Perdana Menteri kita sekiranya pilihan raya di negara ini bebas dan adil. Memandangkan bahawa undang-undang pilihan raya kita menghalang bekas banduan daripada bertanding selama lima tahun, sekiranya Anwar menjalani hukuman sepenuh jangkamasa, beliau akan mencapai umur hampir 80 tahun sebelum layak bertanding semula.

Kami memahami bahawa majoriti rakyat seperti yang ditunjukkan dalam keputusan pilihan raya umum ke-13 (PRU13) akan merasa kecewa dengan pencabulan keadilan hari ini, tetapi kami menyeru agar semua bertindak balas secara rasional dengan memberi tumpuan kepada pengukuhan institusi awam, yang merupakan satu daripada lapan tuntutan Bersih 2.0.

Antara institusi awam utama yang perlu pembaharuan ialah badan kehakiman. Ini diakui oleh Ketua Hakim Negara sendiri, yang, seminggu selepas Mahkamah Tinggi membebaskan Anwar pada tahun 2012, menyeru supaya kebebasan kehakiman ditegakkan. Kami tertanya-tanya sama ada beliau percaya kata-kata sendiri, tatkala beliau menyampaikan keputusan hari ini.

Kes ini satu penganiayaan politik yang memperlihatkan demokrasi yang amat cacat. Kita sudah melihat kecacatan ini dalam PRU13 apabila Pakatan Rakyat tidak boleh membentuk kerajaan walaupun menang undi popular. Dan kita melihat kecacatan sebegini sekali lagi di Sarawak di mana kaedah yang tidak jujur telah digunakan untuk merampas penyertaan rakyat dalam proses persempadanan dan hak mereka untuk menentukan wakil mereka.

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Jika kritikan dibuat terhadap pemerintah, undang-undang yang menindas akan digunakan untuk menutup mulut pengkritik. Ketua Polis Negara sudah pun mengancam untuk menyiasat di bawah Akta Hasutan mereka-mereka yang melahirkan kemarahan dalam talian tentang keputusan mahkamah hari ini.

Peristiwa hari ini mengingatkan kita semula tentang kepentingan perjuangan Bersih 2.0 bagi pilihan raya yang bebas dan adil.


A black eye for judicial independence

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) is thoroughly dismayed that the Federal Court saw fit to uphold the Court of Appeal’s verdict on Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s second sodomy case, using the flimsiest of arguments and disregarding other serious flaws in the case.

Make no mistake – it has been a political trial from Day One, and the verdict underscores this.

Further, the five-year prison sentence meted out to Anwar has effectively ended the political career of the person who would have been our prime minister were our elections free and fair. Since our election laws bar former convicts from contesting for five years, if Anwar were to serve his sentence full term, he would be close to 80 before he is eligible to stand for elections again.

We understand that the majority of the people as reflected in the result of the 13th general election (GE13) will be upset by today’s travesty of justice, but we call upon them to respond rationally by focusing on strengthening our public institutions, which is one of Bersih 2.0’s eight demands.

Among the core public institutions that need reforming is the judiciary. This was admitted by the Chief Justice himself, who, a week after the High Court acquitted Anwar in 2012, called for judicial independence. We wonder whether he believed his own words today, as he sat on the highest court of the land and delivered this verdict.

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This is a political persecution reflective of an extremely flawed democracy. We also saw it in GE13 when Pakatan Rakyat could not form the government despite winning the popular vote. And we’re seeing it in Sarawak where unscrupulous and dishonest methods were used to hijack people’s participation in the delineation process and their right to decide on their representatives.

If criticisms were raised at the government, repressive laws would be used to silence dissent. Already, the Inspector General of Police is threatening to investigate those who expressed anger online over the Anwar judgement under the Sedition Act.

Today’s turn of events makes Bersih’s cause for free and fair elections even more urgent.

Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0, which comprises:

Chairperson: Maria Chin Abdullah;
Deputy Chairperson: Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan;
Treasurer: Masjaliza Hamzah;
national representatives: Assoc. Prof. Dr Abdul Halim bin Yusof, Farhana binti Abdul Halim, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and New Sin Yew;
vice-chairpersons: Jannie Lasimbang (Sabah), Ahmad b. Awang Ali (Sarawak), Abd Halim b. Wan Ismail (East Peninsula), Thomas Fann (South Peninsula), Simon Lee Ying Wai (Central Peninsula) and Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (North Peninsula).

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