Malaysia Court of Appeal dismisses Anwar's bid to reinstate sodomy lawsuit

Mr Anwar Ibrahim was appealing against a decision by the High Court to allow the government's application to strike out his originating summons over his Sodomy 2 conviction. PHOTO: ANWAR IBRAHIM’S OFFICE

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal in a civil suit brought by Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who sought to reinstate his lawsuit against the government relating to his Sodomy 2 conviction.

A three-man panel chaired by Justice Lee Swee Seng was unanimous in its decision to dismiss the suit during an online proceeding on Wednesday (Feb 23).

The other judges were Justices Abu Bakar Jais and Supang Lian.

In the decision, read by Justice Abu Bakar, the panel was of the opinion that the High Court did not err in striking out Datuk Seri Anwar's originating summons (OS) to reinstate the lawsuit.

Mr Anwar, in his argument to support the OS, stated that the lead prosecutor in his sodomy case appeal, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, was not independent as the latter had received RM9.5 million (S$3 million) from then Prime Minister Najib Razak.

"The appellant only said that it was in the public domain that Shafee had received the money from Najib. That allegation by the appellant was a mere assertion unsupported by evidence.

"Therefore, the assertion that Shafee was not independent as the lead prosecutor is devoid of any merits," the judge said.

The panel also said that even if it was proven that the money was paid to Shafee by Najib, it would not have affected the appeals at the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.

"The decisions given by those courts were given by judges independently and without any influence or knowledge of any payments between the two individuals.

"Therefore, it does not matter if there was a payment by Najib to Muhammad Shafee, it is a matter for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate and the Attorney-General to prosecute if there is corrupt payment and receipt of the said sum," Justice Abu Bakar added.

The court further said Mr Anwar has had his right of hearing beginning at the High Court where the case was concluded at the apex court and that he was not denied the opportunity to defend himself up to the highest court.

The Port Dickson MP was appealing against a decision by the High Court on November 8, 2017, where it allowed the government's application to strike out his originating summons over his Sodomy 2 conviction involving Mr Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Mr Anwar alleged in his lawsuit that Shafee, who was an ad-hoc prosecutor in the sodomy case, received RM9.5 million from Najib to lead the prosecution against him at the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court from 2013.

After the lawsuit was struck out by the High Court, Mr Anwar filed an appeal.

In September 2018, a special officer to the former attorney-general Tommy Thomas, Ms Siti Rahayu Mohd Mumazaini, filed an affidavit in support of Mr Anwar's application to reinstate the suit.

Ms Siti Rahayu stated in her affidavit that Shafee received RM9.5 million from Najib between 2013 and 2014 for handling the Sodomy 2 appeal.

Shafee is currently on trial for four counts of money laundering charges over the millions he received.

On June 9, 2017, Mr Anwar filed his OS and named the government as the defendant, claiming that he did not get a fair trial in the appeal relating to his sodomy conviction.

Mr Anwar was convicted and sentenced to five years jail for sodomising Mr Mohd Saiful and he was given a royal pardon on May 16, 2018.

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