Press Statement by Karpal Singh in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 19th July 2008: 

PM should not influence police investigations in the Anwar case

I am shocked by the statement of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, challenging Datuk Seri Anwar to disprove the allegation of sodomy against him by Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan. The asserion by the Prime Minister that if Azwar Ibrahim is not involved in the commission of the alleged offence, he should give his DNA sample now as he had said he did not do anything. The Prime Minister further added that the giving of a fresh DNA sample by Anwar Ibrahim would prove his innocence. The Prime Minister concludes these assertions with the remark, ‘I want to see the result’.

It is elementaru that under our system of law, it is not the Prime Minister who considers the results of an investigation. That is the prerogative of the police eho are required ro put up investigation papers to the Public Prosecutor who is also the Attorney-General. It is then the prerogative of the Attorney-General, under Article 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution, to direct or not to direct a prosecution,

It is wrong for thePrime Minister to publicly challenge Anwar Ibrahim to disprove the allegation of sodomy against him. It is trite law that a person is presumed innocent until proven guiltyunder our legal system. Under the law, even when a person is chargedin court, he has a statutory right to remain silent. It is the prosecution which has the burden throughout of proving a case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

The Prime Minister should hold his peace and not publicly direct and influence police investigation. It is not within his province to do so. Likewise, the statement by Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, ‘What is he (Anwar Ibrahim) afraid of? If he is searching for the truth, he can get it very easily. Just give a blood sample for DNA testing’, apart from being unwarranted, amounts to puclicly implying that Anwar Ibrahim is guilty of the offence of sodomy for which he was arrested. Hamid Albar should be prepared to face the consequences for defamingAnwar Ibrahim for these statement which have been widely carried in the press and the electronic media. Hamind Albar was a former Law Minister and isa barrister by training. He should be responsible for the statement he makes and realise the consequences flowing from his irresponsible statements and innuendos.

There is no provision in the Criminal Procedure Code to compel a person arrested in the course of investigations to undergo DNA tests unlike the provisions if section 31A[ of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952] which came into force on 15 April, 1983 which provide for an arrested person under that Act to give urine samples on pain of being guilty of an offence if he fails to provide a specimen of his urine. On conviction, he is liable to a fine not exceeding RM10,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 4 years or to both.

I am surprised the Criminal Procedure Code has not been amended to compulsorily provide for DNA testing. As far back as 21 March 2000, in a case involving paternity, Justice K.C. Vohrah ruled, ‘In the case of a DNA test, it is common knowledge that either a blood, tissue or bone specimen will be taken from the person for testing. If a person refuses to submit himsef to such testing, he is perfecly entitled to do so; a person cannot be subjected to hurt (i.e. suffer bodily pain, disease or infirmity) within the meaning of s 319 of the Penal Code against his will by submitting himself to such testing.’ Justice K.C. Vohrah concluded by saying, ‘Whoever carries out such testing without the person’s consent would violate s 323 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing hurt to the person and a court cannot, in the absence of a specific legislative provision, order such person to submit himself to an unlawful act to be committed on his person’.

I call upon the Prime Minister and Hamid Albar and others of like mind not to volunteer unsolicited comments which can influence a free and fair police investigation into the allegations made against Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar Ibrahim is entitled to an investigation which is not procedurally flawed and contaminated by outbursts from politicians in high places.

* Karpal Singh, DAP National Chairman & MP for Bukit Gelugor