The Malaysian public has a right to fullest disclosure pertaining to this appeal, says N Surendran.
I refer to the appeal of the Fitnah II case by the BN government against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on 6-7 March 2014.
We are disturbed by the unusual haste in which the 6-7 March dates have been fixed.
The appeal had been fixed for case management on 28 February 2014. Anwar’s lawyers then received a call from the deputy registrar of the Court of Appeal asking for free dates between 7 March and 10 March 2014. It should be noted that the dates insisted upon by the court are on the eve of nomination day for the Kajang by-election. (If Anwar is convicted, he would be disqualified from contesting the by-election.)
On 28 February 2014, the court insisted on fixing 6-7 March as the appeal dates. The dates were fixed despite Anwar’s lawyers stating that those are not their free dates. Why was the court in such a hurry to fix these dates?
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More surprisingly, the court on 12 February had allowed a stay of the Fitnah II appeal, pending disposal of Anwar’s appeal to the Federal Court on the application for Jude Pereira to be recalled.
Having granted the stay, why did the court rush to fix the appeal dates even before the Jude Pereira was heard?
In fact, Anwar had up to 6 March to file his petition of appeal for the Jude Pereira appeal to the Federal Court. However, in a highly unusual move, Shafee Abdullah filed an application to strike out the Jude Pereira appeal. More surprisingly, the Federal Court allowed on 4 March the striking out of the Jude Pereira appeal – a decision clearly wrong in law and in fact.
It should be remembered that the Fitnah II appeal is a matter of great public interest. The court must be candid and transparent in managing the Fitnah II appeal.
The Malaysian public has a right to fullest disclosure pertaining to this appeal.
We hereby call upon the Chief Registrar of the CoA to disclose the reasons for the hurried fixing of the Fitnah II appeal dates.
N Surendran is a vice-president of Keadilan and MP for Padang Serai