Malaysian judiciary is independent: Najib Razak

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has said that the acquittal of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on a sodomy charge has cleared his government of the accusations of political interference and proved that the country`s judiciary was independent.

64-year-old Anwar`s acquittal by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Monday had stunned both sides of the political divide with many not expecting it. "The verdict shows once again that the Malaysian judiciary is an independent institution where neither politics nor politicians have any influence over the dispensation of justice," Najib said in a statement.

The premier said the verdict also strengthened the clear separation of powers of each branch of government, with neither branch interfering with the workings of the other. "As head of the executive branch, I respect the decisions of the other branch of government the judiciary," he said.

"Far from being a politically-motivated prosecution, it has been an unwelcome distraction from the serious business of running our country in the interests of the Malaysian people," he added.

Analysts feel If Anwar had been convicted, the ruling Barisan Nasional party-led coalition of Najib would have been under pressure because the opposition leader would have gone on a nationwide tour to campaign and paint his opponents as cruel and unfair, papers quoted analysts as saying. Ruling party leaders said the verdict would hand Barisan Nasional and the premier an advantage.