The vast majority of Malaysians breathed a sigh of relief and expressed their elation upon hearing the news that Anwar Ibrahim was granted bail on his own personal bond by the Sessions Court where he was charged with alleged sodomy by a bumbling and incompetent prosecution at the behest of its political masters and with the connivance of a corrupt and discredited police force.
Our gratitude goes to the learned judge who rose to the occasion and did justice. To paraphrase from the words of the well-known British author Sir John Mortimer, ‘Now and again the Malaysian legal system produces a judge of exceptional wisdom and integrity who refuses to yield to pressure groups and does justice though the heavens may fall. Such a one is Judge SM Komathy Suppiah’.
To her credit, she rightly granted bail on very fair and reasonable conditions to the accused while firmly holding to the principle that the presumption of innocence is indeed the golden thread that runs through our system of criminal justice.
The learned judge unlike some of our politicians and the disgraceful mainstream media did not indulge in premature adjudication and condemn the accused to custody in remand on what is seen by many to be a politically-motivated charge against a seasoned, well-liked if not loved and popular politician.
Anwar Ibrahim is a person who aspires to take this nation to greater heights with a firm belief in freedom, democracy, human rights and social justice but he is instead accused by his political enemies and detractors of what is perceived to be a vile and depraved act of sexual misconduct.
These accusations come from the very same people who neither have the integrity, the decency or the moral turpitude to pass judgment on others.
This brave and undoubtedly sound judge should be praised and be given credit for remaining true to her office and calling which is to uphold and defend the law without fear or favour unlike some other members of the judiciary who hide behind the laws of contempt, sedition and defamation to deflect public attention and scrutiny of their own incompetence, misfeasance and corruption.
Sadly, some of these judges still remain on the bench supposedly dispensing justice while in reality they work assiduously and insidiously to undermine and destroy the judiciary in order to protect their political masters and the vested interests of the ruling elite.
From the recently concluded royal commission report on the Lingam video tape scandal, the testimony of the witnesses and the police reports made by several interested parties, the public know who these judges are and they are only waiting for the day when these corrupt officials, serving and retired, will be ferreted out and put on trial by the in-coming Pakatan Rakyat government and sentenced to long prison terms just like some of their innocent victims from the past with all the attendant media attention and public humiliation.
The other troubling aspect about the current prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim - apart from the lies and attempted fabrication of evidence - is the need for the case to be transferred to the high court. Why is there such a need when the sessions court has ample jurisdiction to try this case given the fact that it can pass any sentence under the law except the death penalty.
Is this case of alleged sodomy so exceptional that it needs the attention of a high court judge? After all, the sessions courts hears cases of rape, sodomy and sexual assault on a daily basis without much public or media attention.
Or is this going to be a repeat of the events of 1998? Have the case transferred to the high court so that it can be heard by a compliant or compromised judge who will ensure a guilty verdict on a promise of swift promotion to the superior courts and monetary compensation?
Although, the present chief justice has promised to reform the judiciary so that the interests of justice are protected and served, there are forces within the executive who loath any sort of judicial independence and integrity.
Sadly, it was this same chief justice who, while sitting in the majority judgment of the federal court that acquitted Anwar Ibrahim of the previous sodomy charge, also gave utterance to private thoughts, far, far better left unspoken when he said that he was inclined to believe that Anwar had indulged in the homosexual acts as alleged by the prosecution.
As to how the learned judges came to this deduction after finding that the evidence of the complainant was unsound and unreliable and therefore it was dangerous to convict on the uncorroborated evidence of an accomplice in that case, is beyond most of us.
The only plausible explanation is that these private utterances of the judges were made to placate the former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was - and still is - the principal accuser of Anwar and in order to assuage the present Umno leadership.
It is this undoubtedly obiter and unnecessary statement of the federal court that is still mistakenly construed by despotic Umno politicians and the discredited government-controlled media to be the ratio of the case to justify their continuing persecution and vilification of Anwar.
It is sad that in Malaysia this culture of half and half-heartedness and looking in both directions like a double-headed eagle when talking of reform and change is only succeeding in bringing the administration of justice into disrepute and public contempt.
However, it is hoped that more brave judges like SM Komathy Suppiah will rise, phoenix-like from the ashes and restore judicial independence and dignity in our country to the preeminent status that it had prior to the despicable events of 1988 when the judiciary was single-handedly destroyed by a cowardly tyrant.