Royal pardon petition seen as admission of Anwar's guilt, political analysts say

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, accompanied by daughters Nurul Nuha Anwar and Nurul Iman Anwar, submits an appeal for a royal pardon for her husband Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to a palace official at Istana Negara, February 24, 2015. — Picture by Nurul Izzah Anwar
Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, accompanied by daughters Nurul Nuha Anwar and Nurul Iman Anwar, submits an appeal for a royal pardon for her husband Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to a palace official at Istana Negara, February 24, 2015. — Picture by Nurul Izzah Anwar

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — Even though it is the family of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who presented a royal pardon petition alleging injustice, political analysts see the move as an admission of guilt by him. 

They were of the view that the royal pardon petition to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by the opposition leader’s family members, could have been done at Anwar’s behest.     

“Indirectly, it is an admission of guilt on the offence,” Universiti Teknologi Malaysia geostrategist Prof Dr Azmi Hassan told Bernama here, today.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia yesterday confirmed receiving a copy of the pardon petition yesterday when it was filed by Anwar’s wife, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as well as two daughters, Nurul Izzah and Nurul Nuha on behalf of Anwar to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. 

The pardon petition was in relation to Anwar’s five years’ jail sentence for sodomising his personal assistant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Anwar is now held in Sungai Buloh prison after the Federal Court upheld his conviction and sentence after finding him guilty of sodomising Mohd Saiful on Feb 10.

Universiti Utara Malaysia Law, Government and International Studies dean, Associate Prof Dr Ahmad Marthada Mohamed said even though the petition was made by his family members, it alluded that Anwar admitted his guilt.

He said Anwar’s family had earlier justified that should they put in a petition for pardon, it is akin to admitting guilt.

“(But), in the end, they sent in the petition in the last minute,” he said.

Apart from that, Dr Ahmad Marthada found that the admission of guilt could be a last minute effort to save the political struggle of the former deputy prime minister.                  

He said the petition is expected to take a long time and indirectly it would help Anwar to sustain his Permatang Pauh MP post so long as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has not made a decision.

“The process of the Pardons Board is extremely long, it may even take longer than five years as it is not an easy process, as it requires reports from various parties such as the court, advice of the Attorney-General before the King could make a decision. 

“In some circumstances, the sentence had been served when the pardon process was still in progress,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Marthada said as a member of Parliament, Anwar would continue to make statements to garner sympathy especially in the international community on certain issues.

“Anwar is a person who is always seeking attention to be in the political mainstream. He knows as an MP, his voice carries weight compared to an ordinary citizen,” he said.

In fact, he said Anwar’s voice would continue to be heard in Parliament despite being in prison through oral questions which he could submit as an MP.

This view was shared by Dr Azmi who described the pardon petition presented by his family as attempting to not only sustain his political career but also have the opportunity to see the opposition capture Putrajaya.

“The motive behind Anwar’s family in submitting a pardon petition was to prolong his political career with the scenario of the Permatang Pauh seat remaining suspended.

“Indirectly, if the pardon result takes a long time, it is better for Anwar as a by-election in Permatang Pauh need not be held,” he said. — Bernama

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