KUALA LUMPUR – February 25, 2015: The reason stated in the petition seeking a royal pardon for politician Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim looks to be a weak bargaining chip, although no restriction is placed on the grounds cited in such a petition.
The general opinion is that the Anwar family decided to give this as their reason to skirt around the court’s guilty verdict against the former deputy prime minister while continuing to harp on the claim that the famliy patriarch is innocent.
According to the International Islamic University’s associate professor Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz, the federal constitution gives discretionary powers to the Pardons Board.
“This means you can cite any reason but the thing is to be able to convince the board of your case.
“Pardon is about clemency because when justice comes to an end, mercy comes into play,” said Shamrahayu.
However she is of the opinion that judging from the development of the case, it will be difficult for the family to prove to the board about miscarriage of justice.
To prove such an element, Anwar would at least need to prove that he was not given sufficient opportunity to be heard, that certain evidence was not made available to him and if the court was truly bias against him.
However none of these issues was raised during the trial and two subsequent appeals, which makes for a strange situation.
Anwar was first acquitted by the high court in 2012, following which there were two appeals. The entire case lasted six years.
Lawyer Datuk Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos told The Mole that he could not recall anyone ever being pardoned due to a miscarriage of justice.
“The apex court upheld the guilty verdict, so for them to say there was a miscarriage of justice would only mean that they are mocking the judiciary itself.”
Another legal expert, Professor Salleh Buang thinks the petition is engineered in such a way that Anwar would not lose his parliamentary seat.
Since 30 over years ago, two senior politicians have been pardoned.
Former Selangor mentri besar Datuk Harun Idris, who was also Umno Youth leader, was pardoned in August 1981 after about four years in jail relating to a corruption case.
Ten years later, former minister Datuk Mokhtar Hashim was pardoned while he was serving jail time for the death of local political rival Datuk Mohamed Taha. Mokhtar was sentenced in 1983.