Commentary Politics

Pakatan wants a new Pardons Board favourable to Anwar

Will Anwar be pardoned?

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

February 26, 2018

A Youth’s Take – A column by Zaidi Azmi

IT’S getting more interesting and the plan to make jailed PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim prime minister has gotten even more ambitious.

Ambitious in the sense that once Pakatan Harapan (PH) forms the (federal) government the coalition wants to dictate who gets to be members of the Pardons Board.

“Once we are elected, the government has a say in choosing and appointing members to the Pardons Board,” said Anwar’s doting wife, Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Wan Azizah, who is also PKR president, wants to fill the board with retired judges, insisting that doing so will improve her husband’s chances of being pardoned.

Anwar, a convicted sodomite, is currently serving a five-year jail term since February 2015 and is scheduled for an early release on June 8.

He however is barred from standing in any election for a period of five years starting from the date of his release as per Article 48 (1e) and (3) of the federal Constitution.

The only way to lift the ban is to secure a royal pardon from the King –a bid that Anwar has failed at twice — in 2015 and 2017.

One can quibble on the viability of the newly-tweaked make-Anwar-PM plan but the burning question is: “Can the government literally handpick members of the Pardons Board?”

Constitutionally, no.

Article 42 (5) of the constitution explicitly states that the board for each state shall be made up of the attorney-general, the chief minister of the respective states and a maximum of three members who shall be appointed by the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri.

It can only be done by lobbying the Conference of Rulers (Article 38(2)(e)) but at the end of the day, only the Rulers have the final say, explained lawyer Fatihah Jamhari.

“If this (lobbying) is what she (Wan Azizah) meant, then technically there is no need for PH to be the government as anyone can lobby to include the three members,” she added.

Another oh-my-God aspect of the plan is this: “Our Pardons Board will be filled with ex-judges so they can look into the matter and prove that Anwar is innocent,” said Wan Azizah.

Wait. What!?

So PH intends to enlist ex-judges to the board so that they can reverse Anwar’s conviction that was meted out by the highest court in the country?

It does not take to a lawyer to explain that a Pardons Board’s role is to dispense mercy. The name is self-explanatory.

The innocence or guilt of a convict is engaged through the courts and God knows how many opportunities Anwar has had to prove his innocence.

However, there is no telling that this plan is a nons-tarter because after all, Anwar is the proverbial God’s gift to Malaysia.



About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at