IPU Logo-middleInter-Parliamentary Union  
IPU Logo-bottomChemin du Pommier 5, C.P. 330, CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland  

Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 174rd session (Mexico, 23 April 2004)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Mr. Anwar Ibrahim, a member of the House of Representatives of Malaysia at the time of the submission of the complaint, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/174/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 173rd session (October 2003),

Taking also into account communications from Mr. Ibrahim's wife and defence counsel and from other sources dated 18, 24 and 31 January and 3 and 4 February 2004,

Recalling that, having been dismissed from his post as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Mr. Anwar Ibrahim was arrested on 20 September 1998, initially under the Internal Security Act without any charge, and subsequently prosecuted on charges of abuse of power and sodomy; he was found guilty on both counts and sentenced, in April 1999 and August 2000, respectively, to a total term of 15 years' imprisonment, which he is currently serving; on 10 July 2002, the Federal Court dismissed at final instance Mr. Anwar Ibrahim's appeal against the abuse of power charges; in August 2002 Anwar Ibrahim lodged an application with the Federal Court to review its own decision; the hearing of the application, originally set for 18 March 2003, was adjourned owing to a petition of the Attorney General for the application to be heard by a five-member instead of three-member panel; that request has been approved by the Chief Justice; however, no date has so far been set for a hearing, although the Chief Justice is said to have it announced for June 2003,

Recalling also that on 18 April 2003 the Appeal Court rejected Mr. Ibrahim's appeal in the sodomy case; he lodged an appeal with the Federal Court which is pending; considering that, in October 2003, he further lodged a petition in the Appeal Court for a review of its own decision on the ground of serious flaws in its judgment: it not only ignored an alibi notice given by Anwar Ibrahim but also failed to take account of the fact that he had been prevented from presenting a new alibi notice upon the amendment of the charges in June 1999; the charges had been amended upon presentation of Anwar Ibrahim’s and his co-defendant’s alibi notice proving that the building in which the offence had allegedly been committed was under construction at the time mentioned in the charges; the prosecution then changed the time frame from “sometime in May 1992” to “between the months of January to March 1993”; on 19 January 2004 the Appeal Court ruled that it was not competent to review its earlier decision,

Recalling further the serious concerns regarding the fairness of both trials, with particular reference to the attempts made by the prosecution to fabricate evidence against Anwar Ibrahim, the lack of credibility of the main witness, Azizan Abu Bakar, the lack of any medical evidence in the sodomy case, and the serious allegations about extraction of witness statements against Anwar Ibrahim,

Considering that, in May 2003, Anwar Ibrahim filed an application for bail under Section 57 of the Courts of Judicature Act pending the proceedings before the Federal Court; the application was rejected on 21 January 2004, reportedly without any reason being stated,

Considering also that, on 5 December 2003, Anwar Ibrahim’s defence counsel denounced the provision of partly incorrect information by the parliamentary authorities in their report of September 2003 regarding Anwar Ibrahim’s medical care: thus (a) he did not have “for his exclusive use a large air-conditioned gymnasium which is equipped with the adequate equipment for him to carry out his prescribed physiotherapy exercises at his own convenience...”, but only “one exercise bench and two dumbbells placed in a small air-conditioned living room adjacent to his small cell which is Spartan and certainly not air-conditioned ...”; and (b) between the period of October 1999 to June 2003, he was taken from his cell to Kuala Lumpur Hospital on two occasions only and not, as the authorities affirmed, "taken out of the prison for routine medical treatment”; considering also that the parliamentary authorities have so far not replied to the Secretary General’s letter of 9 December 2003 inviting them to comment on the matter,

Considering further that, given his increasing pain, Anwar Ibrahim’s family requested in August 2003 that a medical examination be conducted by an orthopaedic neurosurgeon of their own choice; while this request has not so far been granted, Anwar Ibrahim was examined on 6 January 2003 by a government orthopaedic specialist, which examination revealed new medical complications; Anwar Ibrahim has since been taken for physiotherapy three times a week; he is dependent on the wheelchair and analgesics to alleviate his back pain; recalling that, in their report of September 2003, the authorities affirmed that Anwar Ibrahim was receiving appropriate medical treatment and that his health had significantly improved with conservative treatment,

Recalling that, contrary to the recommendation of the Malaysian National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), Anwar Ibrahim has so far not been allowed to undergo surgery abroad; considering that in its communication dated 24 March 2004, SUHAKAM reiterated that its stand on the matter of medical treatment remained unchanged,

Recalling also that it has repeatedly requested the parliamentary authorities to provide information on how the Malaysian Parliament, as a guardian of human rights, ensures follow-up to the recommendations made by SUHAKAM and that, in their observations forwarded in August 2002, the parliamentary authorities undertook to provide these details,

  1. Regrets that the parliamentary authorities have so far provided no clarification on the question of allegedly incorrect information provided by them in September 2003; and invites them to comment on the observations of the defence counsel regarding Anwar Ibrahim’s medical treatment;

  2. Expresses deep concern at Anwar Ibrahim’s worsening state of health; urges the competent authorities to grant him bail without delay and to authorise him to undergo the medical treatment of his choosing, as recommended by the National Human Rights Commission; firmly believes that Parliament, as a guardian of human rights, should not hesitate to support the recommendations of the country’s Human Rights Commission and make every effort to relay them favourably to the competent authorities; and calls once again on Parliament to do so;

  3. Notes with deep concern that Mr. Ibrahim's alibi notice in the sodomy case has so far not been taken into consideration, the Appeal Court ruling that it was incompetent to review its earlier decision; considers that ignoring such an important item of evidence seriously infringes Mr. Ibrahim's right to defend himself;

  4. Trusts that the Federal Court will rule on Anwar Ibrahim’s petitions in a manner fully respectful of the rights of the defence, which the Court itself considers to be “sacrosanct” and “a principle so fundamental to our system of justice”, and hopes that the relevant hearings will take place soon;

  5. Invites the parliamentary authorities once again to provide information on how in general the Malaysian Parliament, as a guardian of human rights, ensures follow-up to the recommendations made by SUHAKAM;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent Malaysian authorities and to the sources;

  7. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 111th Assembly (September-October 2004).

Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 110th IPU Assembly and related meetings in PDF format (file size 540K approximately ). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader