KUALA LUMPUR – January 8, 2018: The Pakatan Harapan plan to seek a royal pardon for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is serving a five-year jail sentence for sodomy, will not likely be a quick or easy to achieve.
It is, as described by a legal expert, not something that can be achieved “within a day”.
The debate over a fast-track pardon for Anwar resurfaced last week after PKR top echelons insisted that Anwar will be the prime minister within a year if Pakatan wins the next general elections.
“No one would know for sure whether the Yang diPertuan Agong will grant him (Anwar) a pardon and even if he manages to secure it, the process will take quite a long time,” cautioned Datuk Salleh Buang.
Lawyer Syahredzan Johan said that applying for a royal pardon could effectively be an admission that Anwar was guilty of his conviction.
“Actually, you don’t need to admit to your wrong doing (to apply for a pardon) but since you are asking for a pardon, that means you’re admitting that the offence had happened. You are essentially asking for forgiveness and in that sense, when you ask for forgiveness, it’s an admission that you have done something wrong,” he reasoned.
Anwar had, since he was jailed in 2015, already petitioned for a pardon twice, stating that the reason was due to him being a victim of a gross miscarriage of justice. Both were rejected due to undisclosed reasons which his legal team claimed to be very suspicious.
Where Salleh and Syahredzan centred their argument on the pardon issue, constitutional expert Associate Professor Shamrahayu Ab. Aziz of the International Islamic University suggested that Anwar was not actually seeking such a pardon per se.
She was of the opinion that the 71-year-old is more interested in removing his disqualification to contest in an election for five years from the date of his release from prison.
It was reported that Anwar may be released from prison sometime in June due to a one-third remission.
Citing Article 48 (3) of the federal Constitution, Shamrahayu explained that such a disqualification may be removed by the King.
“Anwar had failed in his request for a pardon twice before so maybe what he will be seeking is to cancel the election disqualification,” suggested Shamrahayu.
“But so far no one has applied for that and there is no specific procedure for it,” she said, agreeing that such an application will not likely be easy and may take a long time.