Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia has asked foreign governments to "respect" its legal system and processes after Australian parliamentarians criticised the ongoing trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges.
The foreign office has reminded "certain foreign governments, which have begun meddling and protesting against the ongoing sodomy trial" of Ibrahim, that the sanctity of the Malaysian judiciary has remained "intact and free of external influences".
"The judicial institution of any country must be respected.”
"The case has just begun, so let the trial go on. They should not be creating their own trial by making damaging comments," Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Senator A Kohilan Pillay said on Sunday.
He said that while Malaysia welcomed foreign representatives here to follow the trial, foreign governments must observe the country's laws.
Australia's Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs chairman Michael Danby recently accused the Malaysian legal system of being manipulated by supporters of Barisan Nasional, the ruling coalition, to drive the opposition leader out of politics.
Khairy Jamaluddin chief of the Umno Youth, youth wing of the ruling party, told the New Straits Times that some foreign governments' interference in the country's affairs would not bode well for relations between Kuala Lumpur and them.
"For some of these countries, nothing less than Anwar's acquittal would be acceptable.”
"That is why they cast aspersions on our legal system and prejudge the outcome of this case," he said Sunday.
This is Ibrahim's second trial since 1998 when he was imprisoned, but eventually acquitted.
First Published: Monday, February 08, 2010, 14:08