Monday, July 26, 2010

Don't sweep Saiful's alleged affair under the carpet

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

PKR leader Badrul Hisham Shahrin has urged the Attorney General not to ignore recent accusations that a member of the prosecution team in the sodomy trial against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was having an affair with the complainant Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

“We do not wish to drag up the issue but it is no point for the authorities to pretend nothing happened. They must not be afraid to probe the allegations because, if true, there will be a very unfair conflict of interest against Anwar Ibrahim,” Badrul told Malaysia Chronicle.. The PKR supreme council member is also popularly known as Chegu Bard.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders including Anwar’s defense team has urged Prime Minister Najib Razak not to gag the media or prevent the authorities from investigating the matter.

PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah too has warned of the possibility of a mistrial if it is found that Saiful was indeed having intimate relations with a lady Federal Counsel on the prosecuting team.

Earlier this week, top blogger Raja Petra Kamarauddin had broken the story and even named the lady. So far, neither Saiful nor his friend has issued any public comment.

The trial, dubbed Sodomy II, will resume on August 2. It is unclear if Anwar’s legal team will wait until then to ask the court to initiate an investigation, or if they will do it earlier.

Anwar, the 62-year-old PKR adviser, was accused of sodomizing Saiful at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

He has denied the charges and accused Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor of collaborating with Saiful to frame him and derail his political comeback.

A former star Finance Minister, Anwar was riding high when ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad slapped sodomy charges against him in 1998. Despite fighting the case and saying the accusations were trumped-up charges to stop his political rise, Anwar was sacked and jailed.

It was only in 2004, after Mahathir had retired, that he was acquitted and freed. In 2008, soon after Anwar announced he would contest the Permatang Pauh by-election, he found himself accused of sodomy again. Despite the negative publicity, he won by a landslide and returned to Parliament as Opposition Leader.

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