Why is the Court of Appeal railroading the appeal by the Attorney-General against the acquittal of Anwar Ibrahim for the second sodomy prosecution to commence on 6th April today?
Certain facts have come to light with regard to the scheduling of this case.
About two weeks ago, a registrar from the registry of the Court of Appeal had communicated to Mr Karpal Singh's office and informed to block the proposed hearing dates of 7-10 April 2014.
Mr Karpal' office confirmed that the dates were suitable and would be blocked.
However, things then took a different turn when the case management of the appeal took place last week on 27.2.2014. The first unusual feature was that Justice Aziah Ali, one of the presiding bench appointed to hear the appeal, actually presided over the case management. Usually Deputy Registrars or Senior Assistant Registrars preside over case managements.
Secondly, counsel Karpal Singh who was present was told that the appeal would now proceed on Thurs 6 and Fri 7 March 2014. When he said he was not available because he was involved in other cases, he was informed that Justice Aziah that those cases would be directed to be vacated so that this appeal would proceed.
Questions arise in the mind of the public why the Court of Appeal is suddenly rushing this appeal to be heard now when the original dates were envisaged to be in early April.
The entire nation and the world know that Anwar will be nominated by Parti Keadilan Rakyat to run in the Kajang by-election on Tuesday 11 March.
Are these reshuffling of dates being done to hand down a conviction and sentence before Tuesday so that Anwar will be prevented from running? It is public knowledge that Anwar's plan to run has caused much turmoil in the UMNO ranks.
The Court of Appeal needs to provide an explanation as to why the appeal is being rushed. Merely saying that the appeal has been pending since last year will not be sufficient since the early April dates were already communicated to Karpal Singh.
These are serious questions of public interest. Anwar has consistently maintained that all his prosecutions since 1998 have been politically motivated. The judiciary must not be seen to be manipulated by vested political interests who are bent on using the court system to stop Anwar's political career, and by extension, his leadership of PKR and Pakatan Rakyat who continue to present today the biggest threat to UMNO's continued rule.
Member, Political Bureau member, Parti Keadilan Rakyat
6th March 2014