Anwar right to seek redress, says lawyer Americk Sidhu

Americk-SidhuPETALING JAYA: Anwar Ibrahim has every right to turn to the courts again for justice following the revelation that a prosecutor who got him convicted for sodomy had allegedly received RM9.5 million from the prime minister, a lawyer said.

Americk Sidhu said this allegation only surfaced recently and the former opposition leader had the right to ask why Najib Razak, who was his political rival, reportedly paid the amount to Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

“Anwar has the unfettered right to question the circumstances under which Shafee was appointed ad-hoc prosecutor to obtain the conviction in the Court of Appeal,” he told FMT.

The lawyer said this when asked to state whether Anwar stood a chance to set aside his sodomy conviction and be freed following the latest suit he filed against the government.

On Friday, Anwar said he had been denied a fair trial and a just decision following a report in Sarawak Report two weeks ago that Shafee had received the money in two tranches in 2013 and 2014 from a personal bank account of Najib.

Anwar wants to quash the Court of Appeal’s decision in March 2014, which overturned his acquittal on a charge of sodomising a former PKR aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

The decision was reaffirmed by the Federal Court on Feb 10, 2015 which sentenced Anwar to five years’ jail.

Anwar is seeking a declaration that his conviction by the Court of Appeal on March 7, 2014 was ultra vires to Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution and he must be acquitted.

Shafee had also told reporters last week that he would respond to the allegation on a later date which he did not specify.

Americk said the Federal Court in December last year also dismissed Anwar’s application to review its decision to uphold the conviction on grounds of bias and miscarriage of justice.

“Now, he has the right to return to the court following the new development that could have perverted the course of justice in the sodomy conviction.”

He said Anwar has every right under the Banker’s Books Evidence Act to ask the bank where Najib had operated his account to reveal the payments made to Shafee.

Similarly, he said, Shafee should also be asked to divulge to whom the RM9.5 million or part of the sum was paid to.

Another lawyer, R Kengadharan, said Anwar would have an uphill task in succeeding in the suits he has filed under prevailing circumstances.

“Anwar has made a serious allegation and cast aspersions that the money was paid to Shafee to secure a judgment in a particular way or to suppress evidence in court,” he said.

Kengadharan termed the suits filed by Anwar as “legally illiterate” and served
no purpose.

“These are merely efforts to keep him relevant in the public eye while serving his jail term,” said Kengadharan, who is a former Internal Security Act detainee.

He said Anwar should apply again for a royal pardon or complete his prison term and later share his ideas to develop the nation.

“Politically, Anwar is a dead man walking and he turning to the courts with suits is akin to a fishing expedition.”

On April 17, Anwar also filed another suit to get himself freed on the grounds that the sodomy conviction was based on perjured evidence by Saiful.

Anwar said the government (public prosecutor) knew and had knowledge that Saiful was an untruthful witness and yet relied on and perpetuated the perjury to its advantage.

Anwar is currently serving his jail sentence at the Sungai Buloh Prison.

He was initially acquitted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Jan 9, 2012.