(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The decision of the Court of Appeal today to dismiss the appeal of former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim against High Court Justice Augustine Paul’s rejection of his application for bail on Oct. 5 is most saddening.
It is surprising that the judgement of the three-judge appellate court said that the ten offences for which Anwar had been charged were "non-bailable" and that the original ruling refusing bail to him was "not appealable".
Justice Augustine Paul did not reject Anwar’s application for bail because the offences for which he was charged were "non-bailable" as he had made it very clear during the bail application that Anwar’s eligibility for bail was subject to the discretion of the court.
Justice Paul rejected Anwar’s bail application after considering the prosecution’s objection to the application on the ground that Anwar might tamper with witnesses if he was released on bail.
It is the nation’s shame that the prosecution should oppose the application for bail by someone who was until recently the Deputy Prime Minister in the country.
If the prosecution is afraid that Anwar might tamper with witnesses if he was released on bail, it should at least allow Anwar out on bail but confined to his residence to be with his family during the Hari Raya festivities.
Anwar’s confinement to his residence as one of the terms of the bail would meet the prosecution fear that Anwar might tamper with witnesses, as the police could easily monitor Anwar’s compliance with the bail term.
Furthermore, the prosecution has already closed its case after a 46-day trial, making major last-minute amendments to the four charges of corruption against Anwar.
Although the Court of Appeal had dismissed Anwar’s appeal concerning bail, it is still not too late for the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah to show that the Public Prosecutor could be flexible as well as humanitarian in the discharge of his duties, and agree to allow Anwar out on bail to be with his family on the condition of being confined to his residence.
I believe there will be no better way for Malaysians of all races to celebrate the forthcoming Hari Raya Puasa then for for the Attorney-General to exercise his discretion and show compassion and humanity to allow Anwar out on bail but confined to his residence to be with his family during the Hari Raya festivities.
If Mohtar is so inclined, Anwar could still be released on bail on Monday but confined to his residence to be with his family in time for the Hari Raya festivities.