It’s D-Day today – not for Anwar, but for the judiciary!

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Photograph: themalaymailonline.com

The badly battered and tattered judiciary is on trial today.

Photograph: themalaymailonline.com
Photograph: themalaymailonline.com

The Appeal Court which convicted Anwar Ibrahim on 7 March 2014 had done irreparable damage to the image and integrity of the judiciary. What took place during the proceedings had brought the judiciary into disrepute.

The facts of the matter were baffling and astonishing.

The date fixed for the proceedings and mutually agreed upon was 12-13 April 2014. Inexplicably and arbitrarily the date was brought forward to 6-7 March 2014 even though Anwar’s lawyers were not free on those dates. The court insisted on proceeding with the case.

On the day the case was concluded, Karpal Singh pleaded for more time for mitigation until the following week, beginning 10 March “to address the court on mitigation and sentencing, and to obtain a medical report concerning the Respondent/Defendant’s medical condition.” That legitimate and fair request was denied.

Each day’s proceedings dragged on to between 6.00pm and 7.00pm in an attempt to conclude the case as soon as possible. It may not be highly extraordinary but rarely do court proceedings extend beyond 5.00pm. The rush to deliver judgment was bewildering!

According to Christopher Leong, president of the Malaysian Bar:

In this instance, the Court of Appeal had, at the conclusion of submissions by the parties on 7 March 2014, taken approximately 90 minutes to consider the matter, and then rendered a unanimous decision in reversing the acquittal by the High Court and finding the Respondent/Defendant guilty, at approximately 5.00pm the same day.

The Court of Appeal pronounced a sentence of five years’ imprisonment, and the proceedings concluded at approximately 7.00pm.

These matters raise many questions, cause much speculation, and lend to the perception that justice may have been hijacked.

What transpired on this occasion and the timing of it raised a lot of suspicions as well. The Kajang by-election was round the corner. Anwar was the candidate for the by-election, which was to be held on 23 March. Nomination day was fixed for 11 March 2014.

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On 7 March, four days before nomination day, Anwar was convicted, rendering him unable to contest in the by-election.

Was the judiciary colluding with politicians to stop Anwar from contesting? It is anybody’s guess!

But the judiciary cannot extricate itself from the widely held public perception that it had perhaps colluded with Umno to thwart Anwar’s ambition to become the Menteri Besar of Selangor.

What would be the outcome of the present Federal Court decision? This is the troubling question in the minds of caring Malaysians.

P Ramakrishnan
Aliran executive committee member
28 October 2014

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Abd. Rashid Hanafi
29 Oct 2014 12.09pm

What all the hypocrisy comes down to is the promise of a fair trial. In a fair trial the judge questions all the parties because he does “not” know the facts and wants to find out the truth. If you give a man a fair trial, justice has been served. Even though he didn’t do what you say he did, you may convict and execute him. And that we call due process. It serves the purpose well, but it does not necessarilyn do much for factual accuracy. If after the conviction/execution of the defendant you should discover an error of fact, then the defendant has earned the right for a new trial If a judge has already made his mind before even the trial begins, he is presiding over a “kangroo court” What is the point of setting up such. . a mock trial when the outcome is already been dictated and decided by “outside forces” neutralizing the independence of the judiciary? if that is the case, hopefully not, then it is foolish. to set up a court and conduct a trial. Whatever it is, it’s… Read more »

charleskiwi
29 Oct 2014 8.19am

It is a foregone conclusion right now it is just a process for the world to see or to believe that Malaysia has a judiciary that is all. The judiciary dies when the repugnant … Mahathir took control of the country’s judiciary, period.