Malaysia's judiciary independent: PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said on Thursday his country's judiciary was independent contrary to the views of certain quarters.
"The judiciary is independent. I have given the assurance to the judiciary, when I met them, I told them I respect their independence and I recognize their decisions because they are an independent body," he said at a press conference here.
Abdullah said he had never questioned decisions made by the judiciary on any issue that had been brought before the courts.
Abdullah, who is also the home minister, made the remarks when being asked for comments on allegations made by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday that the Malaysian judiciary was not independent.
"Our democratic system (is) based on the existence and the role of the judiciary, legislature and executive. These three functions are working well in Malaysia," he said.
He said if the three organs had not been functioning well, it would not be possible for the nation to achieve "this level of success and prosperity."
"Of course, there are people who make all sorts of comments but on the whole, I think the majority of the rakyat (people) accept and believe there is independence in the judiciary. We are proceeding well," he said.
Anwar on Wednesday failed to obtain bail and stay of execution pending appeal in the Federal Court against his conviction and nine-year jail sentence for sodomy.
Anwar was found guilty by the High Court of sodomizing his former driver, Azizan Abu Bakar, at Sukma Darmawan's apartment at Tivoli Villa in Bangsar between January and March 1993.
Federal Court judge Pajan Singh Gill rejected the appeal filed by Anwar and his adopted brother Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja against their conviction and sentence for sodomy.
The Court of Appeal, on April 18, 2003, upheld the conviction and sentences passed against Anwar, who is currently serving his nine-year jail term, and his adopted brother, who was sentenced to six years in jail and ordered to be given four strokes of the ratan for sodomy.

The Associated Press

U.S. calls for justice for former
deputy leader in Malaysia

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. officials urged the Malaysian government on Thursday to "ensure that justice is served" for a jailed former deputy leader of Malaysia after an appeals court declined to reconsider his charges.
"We are deeply disappointed that the Malaysian court of appeal has declined to reconsider its upholding of the sodomy conviction and sentence of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim," State Department deputy spokesman J. Adam Ereli said in a statement.
"We urge the Malaysian government to ensure that justice is served and that respect for human rights are upheld, in Anwar's case."
Anwar, who was being groomed to become prime minister, was imprisoned after a 1998 falling out with then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Anwar was convicted of sodomy and corruption after leading protests against the prime minister.
Anwar, 55, claims the convictions were part of a conspiracy to prevent him from challenging Mahathir. The United States considers the trials deeply flawed.
Anwar was given a nine-year jail sentence and "his pleas for bail and medical parole have been ignored or denied; he is physically suffering from his prolonged detention," Ereli said.

Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"