18 July 2012

Judge loses cool in Anwar vs Utusan suit...

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge VT Singam, presiding over opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's defamation suit against Utusan Malaysia, today lost his cool after the daily's lead counsel Firoz Hussein repeatedly asked similar questions in his cross-examination.

"Are you destroying your case or are you helping your case, I don't know," he snapped.

perak state govt crisis 030309 firoz hussienEarlier, Firoz (left) had queried Anwar on what he did not say during his interview with international broadcaster BBC.

"I put it to you that while you say you were committed to the sanctity of marriage you never said that homosexuality was a crime" and "I put it to you that you did not say in your interview that liwat (sodomy) in Islam is punishable by lashing and stoning" were among the lines of questions posed by Firoz.

Anwar repeatedly explained that he had not touched on any of those matters as the BBC interviewer had not asked him about it.

An annoyed Singam later said: "There is already an agreed statement on all this, why am I sitting here? I am not a recording machine. Do this in your submission."

Today was the first day of trial on the defamation suit against Utusan Malaysia for all allegedly alluding Anwar to being a proponent of homosexuality in a conservative Muslim-majority Muslim country.

The daily had quoted axed former Selangor PAS commissioner Hasan Ali calling on Malaysians to reject Anwar due to immoral activities based on the opposition leader's interview with BBC in which Hasan said Anwar called for a review of laws relating to homosexuality so as not to be punitive in nature.

Anwar promises proof of Umno-Utusan link

Firoz had also raised dissatisfaction that Anwar had in his witness statement accused Umno of pulling the strings in Utusan Malaysia and queried if he had any such evidence.

“If I were to buy documents from the Companies Commission, would it say that Utusan Malaysia’s chairperson is appointed by the Umno president?... I put it that is is mere speculation,” he said.

utusan mohamed razali report police 140511 01While conceding that it was not stated in such documents,  Anwar, who is also PKR supremo, insisted that this was the norm from his experience when he was still Umno deputy president in 1998. 

However, Firoz pointed out that 14 years had passed.

He then applied to the court for three paragraphs in the witness statement to be expunged, citing that Umno was a third party and thus not relevant to the case.

At this, Anwar’s lead counsel N Surendran argued that the link was important to the plaintiff’s case as it would prove the motive behind Utusan Malaysia’s malice against the opposition leader.

Judge Singam said the decision on whether to allow the witness statement to be expunged or not will be decided later as Anwar had promised to furnish the court with documentary proof that Umno had a hand in the workings of Utusan Malaysia.

The next hearing is fixed for Aug 13.

Anwar had filed the suit on Jan 20, claiming that the defendants had published a front-page article which he claimed distorted his statements on laws against homosexuality made during an interview with the BBC.

He is claiming RM150 million in aggravated and exemplary damages and other relief deemed fit by the court.

Anwar: Utusan takes orders from ‘President of Umno’

 Anwar backs laws against gays but calls for review...

NONE Parliamentary opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that there should be laws to discriminate against homosexuals to protect the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.

Anwar, who is suing Utusan Malaysia for defamation, said this when quizzed by Firoz Hussein, lawyer for the Umno-owned newspaper.

Firoz: Should the laws of Malaysia discriminate against homosexuals? 

Anwar: Yes. 

However, Anwar added that archaic laws against homosexuality should be reviewed, in order to protect innocent people from being punished.

Anwar had filed the suit on Jan 20, claiming that the defendants had published a front-page article which he claimed distorted his statements on laws against homosexuality made during an interview with the BBC.

He is claiming RM150 million in aggravated and exemplary damages and other relief deemed fit by the court.

Anwar is also seeking an injunction to ban the defendants from uttering or publishing further defamatory statements against him.

When asked outside the courtroom later what the opposition leader meant when he agreed to discriminate against homosexuals, Anwar said the question was not properly put to him.

“‘Discrimination’ is not a correct term... but the issue is we should not allow its practice in the public domain,” he said.

Elaborating further about the review of “archaic laws” on homosexuality, Anwar said: “There are punishments, but they are draconian and that is the issue. My meaning is not to punish people based on prejudice,” he said.

He insisted archaic laws against homosexuals have to be reviewed "so innocent people will not be punished".

"To use this sort of legislation to punish innocent people should not be condoned or tolerated".

Asked why he considered existing laws against unnatural sex under Section 377 of the Penal Code to be “archaic”, Anwar said “because it is hardly used and only used for political reasons”.

“It is used without enough proof, it is used not because of  respect of law but only for politics,” he said.

“So it needs to be reviewed... To have witnesses and enough evidence before being brought to court,” he added.

Utusan had carried a front-page article titled 'Tolak Anwar - Hasan' on Jan 17, in which the Permatang Pauh MP and PKR de facto leader was chastised by sacked former Selangor PAS commissioner Hasan Ali.

Hasan attacked Anwar for questioning the country's anti-homosexuality laws and for allegedly wanting to legalise lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activities.

It also published another article on the same day, titled 'Parasit ancam PAS, Anwar mesti tolak', on page 10.

Laws open to abuse 

Hasan's comments came after Anwar's interview was aired over the BBC last week, in which he called for a review of "archaic laws" of the country.

In the interview, Anwar was reported to have said: "We, Muslims and non-Muslims generally believe and (are) committed to support the sanctity of marriage between men and women in Malaysia.

"But we should not be seen as punitive and consider the archaic laws as relevant. We need to review them. We do not promote homosexuality in public sphere and domain.

"We will not make apologies towards that... I think to use this sort of legislation to be punitive, punishing innocent people cannot be condoned or be tolerated." - malaysiakini

Anwar setuju undang-undang terhadap gay tapi mahu disemak...

Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim memberitahu Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur bahawa perlu ada undang-undang diskriminasi terhadap golongan homoseksual untuk melindungi kesucian perkahwinan heteroseksual.

Anwar, yang menyaman Utusan Malaysia kerana didakwa memfitnahnya, berkata demikian ketika disoal peguam Firoz Hussein, yang mewakili akhbar milik Umno itu.

Firoz: Patutkah undang-undang Malaysia mendiskriminasikan homoseksual?
Anwar: Ya
Bagaimanapun, beliau berkata, undang-undang kuno terhadap homoseksual perlu dikaji semula, untuk melindungi orang yang tidak bersalah daripada dihukum.

Anwar memfailkan saman pada 20 Januari, dengan mendakwa defendan menerbitkan artikel yang memutarbelitkan kenyataannya mengenai undang-undang terhadap homoseksual yang dibuat semasa temubual dengan BBC.

Beliau menuntut ganti rugi RM50 juta serta ganti rugi teladan dan relif lain yang difikirkan sesuai oleh mahkamah.

Anwar juga memohon injunksi untuk melarang defendan daripada mengucapkan atau menerbitkan kenyataan fitnah lanjut terhadapnya.- malaysiakini


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dude he is only claiming RM50 million, not RM150 million. You are so one sided. Were you even in court? Datuk firoz's wasn't allowed to present evidence on his character and reputation being 'libel proof'. VT Singham was playing on the safe side.