Friday, January 31, 2014

‘Sodomy appeal won’t affect Anwar’s Kajang bid’

KUALA LUMPUR: The Court of Appeal’s decision on whether or not to overturn Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy II acquittal will not affect the PKR de facto chief’s bid to stand for the Kajang assembly seat.

Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the government appointed prosecutor in the government appeal, said that even if the Court of Appeal decided Anwar was guilty of sodomising Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, Anwar could still apply for an appeal at the Federal Court, as well as a stay of the decision.

“Yes, (he can still run as a state assemblyman and take up the post), provided he appeals (at the Federal Court) and he must stay the decision. If the decision is not stayed, he may have a problem,” the Umno lawyer told a press conference here today.
Muhammad Shafee cited a similar case of former DAP parliamentarian Fan Yew Teng who had been convicted of sedition in 1975 and faced attempts by certain quarters to disqualify him.
“But [Fan] took the matter up, because he was appealing and he had a stay of conviction. So I think the Federal Court decided the stay meant Fan was to be treated as if he was not convicted. Therefore, he continued as MP,” said Muhammad Shafee.
But he added that should the Federal Court convict Anwar for the Sodomy II trial, then the latter’s political career was over unless he obtained a pardon.
“You are looking at the Federal Court as the ultimate decision-making process,” he said, adding that it would only take three or four months for the Federal Court to make its decision if there were no delays.
“Anyone who is finally convicted (by the Federal Court) for a serious offence, and this is a serious offence, then your career, be it a politician, Member of Parliament, doctor, you are finished. Your entire profession is finished.”
The Court of Appeal is expected to resume the Sodomy II case on Feb 12 and 13, although it may be postponed by a separate, yet related, court case – Anwar’s second bid to disqualify Muhammad Shafee from the prosecution team.
Anwar had accused the prominent lawyer of taking the role of deputy public prosecutor in the hopes of becoming the next Attorney General.
The Court of Appeal has dismissed Anwar’s application to disqualify Muhammad Shafee on the grounds that it had no merit. Meanwhile, the Federal Court is expected to decide on Feb 11 whether or not Muhammad Shafee will remain on the team.
Becoming the next AG

When asked whether it was true he intended to become Attorney-General, Muhammad Shafee said that the rumours had been going around for 15 years or so, but stressed that it had nothing to do with him taking up this case.

But he admitted that if the government offered him the position, he would accept it.
“I would take up any position if it involves me doing a public service and if that public service is something I’m qualified for, if the government really requires me, I would take it up,” said the lawyer, choosing his words carefully.
“In fact, what I’m doing in Anwar’s case is a public service. We don’t want to say at this moment, but after this case is over, you will know it is truly a public service.”

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