Last edited: November 06, 2004

No Testimony from PM in Anwar Trial

PlanetOut, April 21, 2000

Summary: Malaysian PM Mahathir won’t testify in Anwar’s sodomy trial

The judge in the sodomy trial of Malaysia’s former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim ruled April 21 that Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad will not have to testify. Anwar’s defense counsel had issued the subpoena for Mahathir’s testimony in October and it’s been a bone of contention ever since in what is now - after ten months - the nation’s longest-ever trial. The record had been set by Anwar’s previous trial on four counts of corruption for abusing his power to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct; a year ago, he was convicted and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. But Anwar, who in September 1998 was dumped from his cabinet post and his leadership role in the ruling UMNO party after years of being "Prime-Minister-in-waiting," denies all these and other charges. He maintains they represent a high-level plot to prevent him from exposing corruption and cronyism in the government and bar him from political power.

Anwar’s defense believed they had elicited some convincing testimony to this end, but High Court Judge Arafin Jaka said, "There is not an iota of evidence by any witness so far to show Dr. Mahathir was involved in a political conspiracy to topple Datuk Seri Anwar, and it would not be a matter for this trial even if there exists such a conspiracy. After careful consideration, I find there is no evidence to show or even suggest that Dr. Mahathir was involved in any way to fabricate allegations of sodomy against Datuk Seri Anwar."

Anwar reacted with an uncharacteristic emotional outburst, leaping up, pounding the rail, and demanding, "Where is the justice in this court?" After a reprimand, he asked more gently for fairness. Outside the courtroom, his lawyers reported Anwar was feeling so despairing he threatened to withdraw his defense, but that they would encourage him to continue to let the world know his side of the story. Without Mahathir, the defense is expected to wind up fairly soon. A conviction for sodomy could result in 20 years’ imprisonment and caning.

[Home] [World] [Malaysia]