Court dismisses Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's bid for freedom ahead of polls

Court dismisses Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's bid for freedom ahead of polls

Anwar Ibrahim
Malaysian jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim walks out from a court house in Kuala Lumpur on Sep 5, 2016. (Photo: AFP/STR) 

KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur High Court on Monday (Mar 12) dismissed Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's bid to secure freedom ahead of the country's general elections, which may be called within weeks.

The former deputy prime minister had sought to strike out his sodomy conviction, with his lawyers arguing that perjured evidence was submitted in the proceedings that eventually saw him sent him to prison in February 2015.

"I shouldn't say I'm surprised but I am disappointed," Anwar told media after the decision.

"I'm just hoping for one judge, one avenue, to have the courage or conviction to uphold the law and justice.

"Otherwise, wait for GE14." 

Malaysia's 14th general elections must be held by August this year. 

Anwar, who is scheduled to be released in June, will not be allowed to contest for office for five years upon his release unless his conviction is overturned or he receives a royal pardon.

His first bid for a royal pardon was rejected in 2015. 

However, his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, told Channel NewsAsia in February that the opposition has a plan to secure a pardon for him, should it form the government.  

If the opposition secures victory, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad is set to be interim prime minister until Anwar can take over.

Meanwhile, Anwar's lawyers plan on appealing Monday's decision, which would make it one of two pending legal bids to secure his release through the courts.

"My client, Anwar Ibrahim, is innocent and we will continue to pursue all legal avenues in our power to set aside this conviction which we say is wrongful and to secure his release from prison," said lawyer and opposition MP N Surendran.  

Source: CNA/ad