KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 – No action was taken against former Bar Council president Christopher Leong for his statement that jailed Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was “persecuted” following his sodomy verdict, as no police report was lodged. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri said because of this, no legal action was initiated by the Attorney General Chambers.
“To date, no police report was lodged on Leong’s February 11 statement entitled ‘Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim prosecuted or persecuted’ which was said to have insulted the judiciary. “As such, at the Attorney General Chambers level, no legal action was taken. “At the same time, the Attorney General Chambers have taken the imitative to issue a statement on February 12 to explain the issues he raised in his statement,” she said when replying to points raised during the royal address in Parliament today.
The de facto law minister said the decision to charge any individual is dependent on facts of the case and statements taken, and not because of any calls by any quarters. However, she urged the Bar Council to adhere to the objectives of its set-up, as prescribed in the Legal Profession Act. She also urged the body to be more responsible when issuing statements related to the courts’ decisions so that Malaysia’s justice system is not affected.
She said it is important for all quarters to maintain harmony, especially when it comes to the judiciary so that it is not seen to be one-sided and that the Bar Council is seen as an independent body “We never said they cannot comment or criticise, but we urge them to maintain harmony together,” she said. In his statement, Leong had said there was a perception that the accused was persecuted, fuelled by “glaring anomalies”, including not charging complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, who was Anwar’s former aide.
He said the charge against Anwar was based on a provision of the Penal Code that was rarely used, a claim refuted by by A-G, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail. Leong said Anwar had been prosecuted and convicted twice for an alleged offence of sexual acts between adults, wherein the charge does not contain elements of coercion. Anwar lost his final appeal against his conviction and five-year jail sentence after the Federal Court rejected the appeal. Anwar is undergoing a five-year jail sentence at the Sungai Buloh prison.