Apex court dismisses Anwar's bid to remove 'homosexual' remark

PUTRAJAYA - Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has failed in his attempt to expunge a remark in a Federal Court judgment nearly 10 years ago that implied he has homosexual tendencies.

A five-member Federal Court panel, chaired by Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, yesterday unanimously dismissed Anwar's review application to have the remark removed from the majority judgment delivered on Sept 2, 2004, by then Federal Court judge Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad.

The other panel members were Justices Zaleha Zahari, Jeffrey Tan, Abu Samah Nordin and Ramly Ali.

Abdul Hamid, who later became the chief justice and retired in 2008, had in a 2-1 Federal Court majority decision freed Anwar on a charge of sodomy against his family's driver, Azizan Abu Bakar, at the Tivoli Villa in Kuala Lumpur in 1994.

In delivering his decision yesterday, Justice Zulkefli said Justice Abdul Hamid was perfectly entitled to make the remark when he delivered the majority judgment as there was sufficient evidence on record to justify the comment.

He said the majority judgment had accepted that the sexual incident did occur but there was an element of doubt as to when it took place.

"In our view, the conclusion arrived at by the majority judgment in the impugned paragraph was in fact based on evidence found in the appeal record. It, therefore, cannot be termed as a 'personal opinion' of the learned judge who delivered the majority decision," he said.

Justice Zulkefli said the Federal Court agreed with the submission of Deputy Public Prosecutor Manoj Kurup that the remark was part and parcel of the analytical process undertaken by Justice Abdul Hamid in arriving at the majority decision.

He said if the court allowed Anwar's application, it may open a floodgate for dissatisfied parties to make similar applications to edit judgments of the courts to suit their respective purposes.

"In our considered view this would tantamount to interfering with the judicial process, which should not be allowed," he said.

Anwar had filed a review application on March 29 to expunge part of Justice Abdul Hamid's Sept 2, 2004 judgment.

His lead counsel Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah argued that the remarks were wholly unnecessary, not essential and irrelevant in the judgment.