'I have no hope of justice'

ANWAR delivered the following address in court on April 14, 1999 after Judge Augustine Paul pronounced him guilty on charges which most people believe were trumped up.

First, I would like to thank my lawyers, who have conducted the defence with such dedication and spirit. They deserve the greatest admiration.

Right from the beginning, I had no hope whatsoever that I would be tried fairly. I say this not out of prejudice; I base my statement on information I have been privy to. When I was in government, many senior officials, noting my reformist attitude, used to complain to me about all kinds of afflictions within the government machinery, including the judiciary. A very senior judge, out of his own volition, submitted a detailed report which showed how serious the crisis in the judiciary was. He gave several examples of personal misbehaviour and professional misconduct in the handling of court cases.

I have no hope of justice. The charges are part of a political conspiracy to destroy me and ensure Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s continued hold on power at whatever cost, even if it means sacrificing whatever little is left of the judiciary’s integrity. "You resign or I charge you." That was the ultimatum the Prime Minister gave on the morning of 2 September 1998. Isn’t this corruption? The Prime Minister uses the judicial system as a tool to exert political pressure.

All the instruments of government--including the Attorney-General’s Office, the Police and, indeed, the Judiciary--are under the Prime Minister’s thumb. In the days of absolute monarchies, the king could do no wrong, rex non potest peccare. That is precisely how this country is ruled now; members of the ruling clique are immune from prosecution and those who go against them are humiliated and disgraced through trumped-up charges.

At the begining of the trial, the Honourable Judge exhibited some courage when he cautioned members of the administration against commenting on the case. But courage left him when the Prime Minister blatantly committed contempt of court by remarking that there would be chaos if I was found innocent. Was this not a warning to the court? And neither did the Attorney-General utter a single word. However, the honourable judge recovered his "courage" and "vigour" when my lawyers tried to question his rulings.

Indeed, this trial has influenced perception regarding our judiciary, not just among Malaysians but the international community as well. It has opened the people’s eyes. The court, in ruling that a political conspiracy was irrelevant and that certain witnesses were irrelevant, has helped me prove to the people that my prosecution was indeed part of a political conspiracy. I could not guarantee achieving this on my own even if I were to go on a nationwide campaign.

Charges were trumped up against me because I worked against corruption, power abuse, cronyism and nepotism in government. And the judge has declared: "Let the whole country be corrupt; it still has nothing to do with this case." But corruption is precisely the issue; it was because I opposed corruption that I was expelled and it is because of corruption that this case cannot be tried fairly.

And while I am accused of corruption, the Attorney-General has not brought an iota of evidence—indeed he has not even tried to prove—that I used my position to enrich myself or my family. But the Prime Minister has directed Petronas to bail out Konsortium Perkapalan, which is owned by his son, Mirzan Mahathir. Isn’t this corruption? In my possession there is a report of an investigation over corrupt practices by a cabinet minister which was submitted to me by the Attorney General. It ends with this sentence: "The Anti-Corruption Agency and the Prosecution Division of the Attorney-General’s Office recommends that B1 (the minister concerned) be charged in court." The report was signed on 14 March 1995 by a prosecutor named Gani Patail. And I have letters written by corporate figures to Tun Daim Zainuddin (when he was Finance Minister) which conclude thus: "In the event of my death or permanent disablement, this letter shall serve as irrefutable proof of your claim against my estate." The amounts involved run into hundreds of millions of ringgit. I repeat my challenge to the ruling clique to give full disclosure regarding the approval of licences, contracts and shares by Tun Daim and me and privatisation approvals by the Economic Planning Unit.

The corruption charge against me is not a charge concerning pecuniary gain but one of abuse of power. But in the process of prosecuting me there have been so many startling incidences of abuses of power by the Prime Minister which point clearly to the existence of a conspiracy.

Coercion, ultimatums, even torture were used by the parties charged with the responsibility to fabricate evidence against me. I have evidence of such a conspiracy: from the involvement of the Attorney-General in the police affidavit calculated to vilify me in Dato’ Nallakaruppan’s case, alleging sexual misconduct on my part, treason, leaking government official secrets and corruption, to the cases of coercion and torture of Dr. Munawar Anees, Sukma Darmawan, and Mior Abdul Razak, the statutory declaration of Manjeet Singh, to the meeting between the police and Gani Patail at Bukit Aman on the night of 20th September 1998. But the judge simply did not have the patience to hear all this. As Socrates once said: "A judge must be patient enough to hear the evidence of both parties." On the contrary, in my case, my counsel Zainur Zakaria was found in contempt of court and others were warned that they too would be subject to the same punishment. I have overwhelming evidence concerning the deception and conspiracy but all this was brushed aside; even more so when the names Dr Mahathir and Tun Daim were mentioned, as if the court was more interested in protecting them than getting to the truth.

When I was still in office I referred to the need for legal reform, the need for the independence of the judiciary to be further strengthened. Many of the rich and powerful did not take kindly to my statement while many of the people read my statement with scepticism. Now they are no longer sceptical. As they say, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. The actions of a small group of people have destroyed the judicial institution. Only that I had unwittingly become the victim in order for people to be convinced about this. I have no regrets whatsoever. Perhaps this is just a small sacrifice on my part to convince the people how urgent and vital is the need for reform in this country, especially in the police force, the AG’s Department and the Judiciary.

Justice is the soul of a nation. Our tragedy is that there are people who are prepared to sell their souls for a pittance.

I was brought up on the adage: a tiger’s legacy is its stripes, a man’s legacy is his name. So, if I may ask, what is a judge’s legacy? Surely nothing if not his judgments. If his judgments be just, then they would be remembered for generations. Otherwise, his injustices will stink till Kingdom come.

I have been dealt with a judgement that stinks to high heaven. This is an absolute disgrace. An interpretation of corruption which is ludicrous, nauseating, in fact, when one considers how in Malaysia billions of ringgit of the people’s money are being squandered by leaders to save their children and cronies. They have made greed and unethical behaviour their private domain, rendering themselves above the law.

I have been convicted, but the people know that my conviction was according to the script written by the conspirators. It is not the Court but the conspirators who are sending me to jail. But remember that man is made of body and soul. My body may be incarcerated, but my soul remains free. However, there are those who are outwardly free, but their spirits remain forever shackled, imprisoned by their rank and status. Indeed their souls can be bought and sold.

This trial has been political persecution hiding behind the cloak of the law. I would advise the conspirators to stop this nauseating charade. To all Malaysians, regardless of race or age, I am grateful for their support. Hold fast to the struggle. Love Malaysia. And if we do love Malaysia then the fight against injustice, to establish justice and freedom, must be invigorated. The corrupt and despicable conspirators are like worms wriggling in the hot sun. A new dawn is breaking in Malaysia. Let us cleanse our beloved nation from the filth and garbage left behind by the conspirators. Let us rebuild a bright new Malaysia for our children.

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