Feb 23, 2022 – Decision on Anwar’s appeal against striking out of his sodomy conviction suit

by BERNAMA / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

PUTRAJAYA – The Court of Appeal here today set Feb 23 next year to decide on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s (picture) appeal against a High Court’s decision in striking out his originating summons relating to his sodomy conviction against a former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

A three-member panel comprising Judges Datuk Lee Swee Seng, Datuk Abu Bakar Jais and Datuk Supang Lian fixed the date after hearing submissions from Anwar’s counsel Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, senior federal counsel Suzana Atan, who appeared for the government, and lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, representing lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, as the intervenor, in the virtual appeal proceedings today.

Anwar is appealing against the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision on Nov 8, 2017, which allowed the government’s application to strike out his originating summons after ruling that the case was groundless and without any supporting evidence.

Anwar, in his originating summons filed on June 9, 2017 against the Malaysian government, claimed that he did not get a fair trial in the appeal against his sodomy conviction.

The Port Dickson Member of Parliament is seeking a declaration that his conviction by the Court of Appeal on March 7, 2014, was ultra vires the Federal Constitution and thus, null and void.

He also wants an order that the decision by the Federal Court in upholding the Court of Appeal’s decision was ultra vires and therefore, null and void.

In his affidavit, Anwar alleged that Muhammad Shafee received RM9.5 million from former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to lead the prosecution team in the appeal over his sodomy conviction.

Anwar’s conviction and sentence of five years’ jail for sodomising Mohd Saiful was upheld by the Federal Court. Anwar, however, was given full pardon by the King on May 16, 2018.

Earlier, Sri Ram submitted that the case should be remitted to the High Court so that the veracity of the RM9.5 million payment that was purportedly made to Muhammad Shafee to conduct the prosecution in the sodomy appeal could be tested.

“We are just saying, give us an opportunity to test the veracity of this payment,” he said, adding that Muhammad Shafee needed to be cross-examined relating to the RM9.5 million payment.

Sri Ram said the appellant (Anwar) did not receive a fair trial following Muhammad Shafee’s failure to disclose the payment.

“The payment was made by then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who had interest in the outcome of Anwar’s sodomy case,” he said.

Meanwhile, Suzana submitted that Anwar had been given a fair trial in the High Court which resulted in an acquittal on the preferred charge.

“Based on the evidence presented before the High Court, the Court of Appeal had reserved the findings of the High Court leading the criminal conviction.

“This criminal conviction was affirmed by the Federal Court. As such, this application which is to nullify the criminal conviction, is a collateral attack on the judgments of the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court and this court has no jurisdiction to deal with the same,” she said.