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Anwar lowers expectations of judicial independance - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Despite two recent judicial decisions which seemingly indicated an independent judiciary, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim does not believe that the judiciary is truly independent yet.

He said that recent developments had shown that there were "some judges" who had made decisions based on facts, the law and their conscience.

"It is still not something that can give confidence, (especially) without wide ranging reforms (taking place)," said the PKR de facto leader.

syed husin book launch 091108 anwar talksAnwar said this in his wide-ranging keynote address at the launch of four books by PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali in Shah Alam today.

Anwar was referring to the order to release popular blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin from his Internal Security Act detention by the Shah Alam High Court on Friday.

Annwar himself won a significant victory in the sodomy trial where he is charged for allegedly sodomising his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

On Friday, the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court Judge SM Komathy Suppiah ruled that the Attorney-General's Abdul Gani Patail's order to transfer the case to the High Court as invalid.

Anwar's supporters feared that once the case was transferred to the High Court, a less impartial judge would be appointed to hear the case.

Judicial renaissance?

On Raja Petra, Anwar said that justice Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad had made a brave decision to rule in favour of the blogger's habeas corpus application.

"Indeed, thanks to the courageous decision by a judge acting in accordance with the law, the spirit of the law and the dictate of conscience, Raja Petra is now a free man," he said.

syed husin book launch 091108 launchHe added that the recent court decisions had "give us hope" of shedding away the "dark recesses of the judiciary's checkered history".

"(However) I would not get overly excited that this is the start of a judicial renaissance," he said.

On his sodomy trial, Anwar said he was perplexed by the prosecution team's eagerness to have the matter heard at a different court.

"But I believe the people know that the unseen hand is at work here. That is exactly what Hamlet called the insolence of office," he added.

Economic handling

Anwar also criticised the federal government's current handling of the economy and rejection of a bi-partisan approach to resolve the problem which is affecting the world.

"The Pakatan Rakyat has made it clear that the economy comes first. But what we see now is the unmitigated scramble for power among Umno leaders.

syed husin book launch 091108 crowd"We see millions of ringgit being spent. The nation's coffers are once again treated as private bank reserves for the dolling out of favours and the fulfilling of personal promises," he said.

He pointed to the government's decision to use EPF funds to shore up the share market as a form of misappropriation with no form of transparency or accountability.

"This is a serious breach of fiduciary duties and grievously, the rakyat would have to pay for it," he said -