Anwar Acquitted: Does it show independence of the Judiciary?


Anwar was acquitted yesterday, much to everybody’s surprise (including mine!)

Masterwordsmith reported that there were more than 1,171 articles on Anwar’s acquittal yesterday (read here). This must have been a real surprise to everybody too.

So it is safe to say that Anwar’s acquittal by the court yesterday was not something that most people had expected. In fact, I had written in another posting that it was almost certain that Anwar will be found guilty. So did most others except for Karpal Singh who felt that Anwar will be freed. Obviously, we were wrong although the assessment and the gut feelings were so strong on the incarceration of Anwar.

Well, there is enough said about this from yesterday’s article. But there is one issue I would like to comment on. And that is the loud assertions by Najib and the BN that this proves the independence of the judiciary. The fact is this acquittal by the court does not prove the real independence of our judiciary but that this particular case did not appear to violate the natural course of justice. Of course, this is an opinion.

There have been claims of Government interference of the judiciary in many cases and this particular Sodomy II smacked of that when there was no clear proof that the alleged act ever took place. A second case on Anwar clearly showed a political persecution from the start. As such, most people never paid that much attention to the court proceedings believing that it was a foregone conclusion that Anwar will lose the case no matter what defense he put up.

Now that Anwar is acquitted, does it show the independence of the judiciary? Yes and no.

Yes for this particular case. It appears that the learned judge delivered a verdict of acquittal on the basis that there was no clear proof that the DNA evidence was clean and was not tampered with. And to go solely with Saiful’s testimony was insufficient to charge Anwar. Hence, the acquittal.

It would have been a clear yes if Anwar’s defense was not needed to be called because there was no case to begin with. The judge allowed the case to proceed to its natural course even with the flimsiest of evidence and strange testimonies.

No because it can be theorized that Najib believes that he will gain a better public perception if he got Anwar freed instead of forcing the issue to incarcerate him. If this is so, then there is no independence of the judiciary but the acquittal was part of the strategy.

Well, we may never know the truth. The powers to be can do things which puny Malaysians can never begin to fathom.

For now, it is time to put the case behind us although the prosecutor can still appeal.

It is better for Najib and BN that Anwar be acquitted because the public perception was so fixed on the political persecution of Anwar in this case. With the acquittal, Najib has something to shout about even though it is a meaningless glory. In politics, many a times, it does not need to make sense but just sound right.

A boy who always not bathe everyday decides to take a bath to clean himself. Does it prove that he is clean all the time? No. Just that one time.

So for the judiciary to be perceived as independent, it must be perceived EVERYTIME. Not just this once or twice!

Time will tell if we have an independent judiciary which Malaysia needs!

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