Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling
on Thursday, 7th August 2008:
Anwar's Sodomy II – call on Abdullah to stop political
interferences and allow the professionals in Attorney-General's Chambers
to rethink and drop the "medieval" prosecution
There was not only relief but a sense of vindication all round
that Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was released
on RM20,000 personal bond without surety after he pleaded not guilty in
the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court this morning to the Sodomy II charge
under Section 377 B of the Penal Code.
The decision of the Sessions Court judge, S.M. Komathy and the stand of
the Solicitor General Datuk Idrus Harun in not opposing bail gives hope
that the system of justice is not totally condemned and irredeemable if
the professionals in the legal and judicial services are fully freed of
political pressures and interferences to discharge their duties to
uphold the rule of law and dispense justice.
The person who had come out worst from this morning's proceedings was
not in court at all – the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad
Only yesterday, Abdullah was again justifying the Sodomy II prosecution
of Anwar on the ground of according "justice" to the accuser, Mohd
Saiful Bukhari Azlan, making many Malaysians ask why the Prime Minister
has suddenly become the leading spokesman for Anwar's Sodomy II charge
when under the Constitution, the sole prosecution discretionary power is
vested in the Attorney-General and not with the Prime Minister or in the
Abdullah made a very pertinent remark yesterday when he was asked by the
media whether Saiful would also be charged for sodomy if he was a
willing partner, saying:
"You better read your law. If there is rape the accused will have to
face action. This is a matter for the law. But I am not lawyer and I
won't get involved. We'll see what happens in court."
The import of the Prime Minister's answer is unmistakable - that Anwar
would be charged with sodomy rape, i.e. an offence under Section 377C of
the Penal Code which reads:
"377C. Whoever voluntarily commits carnal intercourse against the order
of nature on another person without the consent, or against the will, of
the other person, or by putting the other person in fear of death or
hurt to the person or any other person, shall be punished with
imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than
twenty years, and shall also be liable to whipping.".
However, Anwar was not charged under Section 377C but 377B of the Penal
Code which reads:
"377B. Whoever voluntarily commits carnal intercourse against the order
of nature shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may
extend to twenty years, and shall also be liable to whipping."
As Section 377B is on consensual sodomy as compared to Section
377C on sodomy rape, Anwar had rightly responded after the charge in
court this morning: "If it is consensual, why was I the only one being
charged? This is a political persecution."
Section 377B is a "medieval" charge especially when the sentence for it
and Section 377C carries a common maximum of 20 years, making no
distinction between consensual sodomy or sodomy rape.
But the more important question is what made Abdullah talk about "sodomy
rape" in connection with Anwar's Sodomy II charge yesterday?
This morning's court proceedings have reinforced perceptions that
Anwar's Sodomy II prosecution is purely political in nature, and that
the professionals in the Attorney-General's Chambers, who had been
reluctant and unenthusiastic in pursuing the prosecution, had been
overruled by their political masters out on a political rampage against
Anwar's Sodomy II charge has become a new cause celebre but which is of
no service to Malaysia, as on trial will not be just Anwar but the whole
nation – with the integrity of the system of justice and national
institutions in the international dock of opinion.
I call on Abdullah to stop political interferences and allow the
professionals in Attorney-General's Chambers to rethink and drop the
"medieval" prosecution of Anwar in the Sodomy II charge.
Kit Siang, DAP
Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor