Malaysia urges public to remain calm after Anwar verdict

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks to the media ahead of the verdict in his final appeal against a conviction for sodomy in Kuala Lumpur

PETALING JAYA - Police are asking the public to remain calm irrespective of today's verdict on opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's appeal against his conviction and five-year jail term for sodomy.

Federal Internal Security and Public Order director Deputy Comm Datuk Muhammad Fuad Abu Zarim said although the security around the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya had been beefed up, it was vital for the public to remain calm to avoid any untoward incident.

"We are confident that everyone will be civil in accepting whatever the court's decision. However, we are also ready for any eventua­lity.

Muhammad Fuad also reminded the public - especially rival supporters of Anwar and Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the former aide whom he is alleged to have sodomised - to not feel provoked by the police presence.

Police had been reported as saying that they were expecting 200 to 300 people to gather outside the Federal Court based on previous turnouts.

However, City CID chief Senior Asst Comm Zainuddin Ahmad said no one had so far filed an application to hold a gathering there.

Last Tuesday, Muhammad Fuad urged both sets of supporters to file applications under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 if they wish to gather.

The Federal Court had set today to deliver the decision on the Opposition Leader's final appeal against his conviction and sentencing on charges of sodomising Saiful six years ago.

Later at the Padang Timur field opposite Amcorp Mall, a dinner was held in support of Anwar.

More than 1,000 people attended the "Be with Anwar before his verdict" event, with Pakatan leaders, including PKR vice-president Tian Chua, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, turning up.

Some of them also gave speeches during the dinner which started at around 8pm.

Anwar, who arrived around 8.35pm, was accompanied by his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.