No Testimony from PM in Anwar Trial
April 21, 2000
Summary: Malaysian PM Mahathir wont testify in Anwars sodomy trial
The judge in the sodomy trial of Malaysias former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar
Ibrahim ruled April 21 that Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad will not have to testify.
Anwars defense counsel had issued the subpoena for Mahathirs testimony in
October and its been a bone of contention ever since in what is now - after ten
months - the nations longest-ever trial. The record had been set by Anwars
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.
Anwars 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]