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Anwar loses bid to reinstate suit over sodomy conviction

Three-man bench says the PKR president's claim that lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah received RM9.5 million from Najib Razak is unsupported by evidence.

2 minute read
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar Ibrahim lost his appeal in the Court of Appeal today to reinstate his lawsuit against the government to invalidate his conviction for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

A three-member bench comprising justices Lee Swee Seng, Abu Bakar Jais and Supang Lian, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the PKR president’s appeal, ruling that the High Court was right to strike out Anwar’s originating summons.

Abu Bakar, who delivered the court’s decision, said Anwar’s claim that the lead prosecutor in his sodomy case in the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, had received RM9.5 million from former prime minister Najib Razak was an assertion unsupported by evidence.

“Therefore, the assertion that Shafee was not independent as a lead prosecutor is devoid of any merit.

“In any event, even if it is proven that the money was paid to Shafee by Najib, we do not think this has affected the appeal at the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court,” said Abu Bakar.

He also said the decisions of the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court in Anwar’s sodomy case were given by the judges of those courts independently and without influence or knowledge of any payment between the two individuals.

“Therefore it does not matter if there was such payment made by Najib to Shafee. It is a matter for the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) to investigate and the attorney-general to prosecute if there is corrupt payment and receipt of the same sum,” he said.

He said Anwar was also not denied the opportunity to defend himself up to the apex court in his sodomy case.

Anwar was appealing against the Nov 8, 2017 decision of the High Court allowing the government’s application to strike out his lawsuit.

In the originating summons filed on June 9, 2017, naming the government as the defendant, the Port Dickson MP claimed he had not received a fair trial in the appeal against his sodomy conviction.

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

In his affidavit, Anwar alleged that Shafee had received RM9.5 million from Najib to lead the prosecution team in the appeal over his sodomy case.

Anwar was acquitted and discharged of the sodomy charge by the High Court in 2012 but the Court of Appeal overturned the decision after allowing the prosecution’s appeal.

The appellate court convicted and sentenced Anwar to five years in jail for sodomising Saiful in a decision upheld by the Federal Court. However, Anwar was given a full pardon by the king on May 16, 2018.

Lawyers J Leela and How Li Nee represented Anwar while senior federal counsel Suzana Atan appeared for the prosecution. Lawyer Sarah Abishegam acted for Shafee, who was allowed to intervene in the appeal in 2018.