Archive for February 14th, 2015

Justice and truth in Anwar’s case

Anwar did not have to prove his innocence; it was for the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

By Gerard Lourdesamy | February 12, 2015
Free Malaysia Today

After 22 years at the Bar, I have never failed to be amazed by the development and exposition of the law by our superior courts. Their ingenuity and diligence ought to be commended. Their decisions deserve respect not least because of their consistency and predictability.

The judgment of the Federal Court in Anwar Ibrahim’s final appeal against his conviction for sodomy comes as no surprise to many of us.

The purpose of a criminal trial is to do justice. The role of the prosecutor is not to seek a conviction at all costs but to ensure that justice is done to both the victim and the accused. The process has to be fair and impartial. The golden thread that runs through our system of criminal justice is the presumption of innocence. The accused does not have to prove his innocence. It is for the prosecution to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The benefit of any doubt must be given to the accused. But the doubt must be a rational and not improbable doubt.

Consent is not required for a charge under Section 377A of the Penal Code, implying that this section deals with cases of consensual unnatural sex. Section 377C of the Code deals specifically with unnatural sex without consent and by implication it may involve some element of force or violence. That is why a heavier penalty is imposed by this section on offenders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anwar Ibrahim’s incarceration and its implications

Mohd Nawab Mohd Osman, Guest Contributor
New Mandala
13 February 2015

The verdict is finally out. After months of speculations over Anwar Ibrahim’s fate, the Malaysian High courts have upheld the guilty verdict for the former deputy prime minister over the charge of sodomy. The verdict was particularly surprising for some within the Opposition circles who were confident that Anwar would be freed. The verdict has in theory sealed Anwar’s political fate given that he will be in prison for five years and be barred from assuming political office for another five years. This – at 77 – would render him too old to become the next leader of the country. The verdict is likely to have long term consequences for both Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Malaysian politics.

Prosecuting Anwar Ibrahim

Anwar Ibrahim is a key figure in Malaysian politics. He will long be remembered for changing Malaysia’s political landscape. Dismissed as a spent force following his ouster from the ruling party – the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) – and subsequent jail term for sodomy and corruption, against all odds, he rose from the political doldrums to lead the PR to its best electoral performance in 2008. In 2013, the coalition bettered this performance by winning the popular votes. Read the rest of this entry »


Life after Anwar

John Funston, Guest Contributor
New Mandala
12 February 2015

With Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim losing his appeal against sodomy charges and receiving a harsh five-year jail sentence, it could spell the end to his political career.

New Mandala spoke to Malaysia expert Dr John Funston, from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, about the trial and conviction, and what it means for Anwar’s, the opposition’s and the country’s political future.

NM: Now that he has been convicted, does this spell the end of Anwar Ibrahim’s political career? Why or why not?

JF: This conviction is likely to end 67-year old Anwar Ibrahim’s direct political role. It will now mean five years jail (40 months with remission for good behaviour), then five years after his release before he can contest political office.

But he will still be able to influence developments from prison, as he did during his previous six-year incarceration. He will also be a potent political symbol of government oppression.

Of course if the opposition were to win the next election – due by 2018, but can be called earlier – there may be ways to facilitate an earlier political return. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s political backslide

Editorial Board
Washington Post
February 11, 2015

SEVERAL YEARS ago it appeared that Malaysia, which has been ruled by the same party since it achieved independence in 1957, might be on the verge of a soft transition to democracy. Prime Minister Najib Razak promised to dismantle preferences favoring ethnic Malays, reduce police powers, repeal a repressive anti-sedition law and promote free and fair elections. He mostly stayed on course until 2013, when opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim led a multiethnic coalition to a popular-vote victory in national elections. The ruling United Malays National Organization clung to power only because of the gerrymandering of parliamentary seats.

Mr. Najib has since launched a campaign aimed at crippling the opposition — a crackdown that reached its peak Tuesday with the sentencing of Mr. Anwar to five years in prison. It was a major regression for a country that values its strategic partnership with the United States, and it was the continuation of a bad trend in Southeast Asia, following the military coup that toppled Thailand’s democratic government last year. Read the rest of this entry »

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