Aziz Bari: Royal pardons a fail-safe for miscarriages of justice

Perak DAP vice-chairman Abdul Aziz Bari says royal pardons are protections against failures or abuses in the justice system. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Perak DAP vice-chairman Abdul Aziz Bari says royal pardons are protections against failures or abuses in the justice system. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, May 14 ― Royal pardons are protections against failures or abuses in the justice system, Perak DAP vice-chairman Abdul Aziz Bari said.

The constitutional law expert turned lawmaker said the option also exists as a safeguard against mistakes in the legal system.

“It is a tacit admission that no system is perfect and that it’s not necessarily foolproof,” he said in a statement today.

He was commenting on a statement by PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan who insisted he was correct in calling PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim a former convict despite the royal pardon granted to the latter.

Abdul Aziz, who is also Perak state executive councillor, said while Takiyuddin is a lawyer, he was obviously ignorant about the functions and effects of the royal pardon.

“Even though the Constitution provides the procedures, the Agong needs to consider the advice given by the Pardons Board,” he said, pointing out the final decision rests with the Agong.

Takiyuddin triggered controversy by questioning the public’s appetite for an ex-convict as the country’s prime minister; Anwar is presented as the next in line for the position once Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad steps down.

PKR and DAP have both criticised the PAS leader for the portrayal by pointing out that the royal pardon effectively erased Anwar’s conviction.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng added that Takiyuddin’s remark was disrespectful of Kelantan’s Sultan Muhammad V who was Yang di-Pertuan Agong when the latter granted the royal pardon.

The Agong at the time agreed to the royal pardon shortly after Pakatan Harapan won the 14th general election in May last year.

Anwar went on later to contest and win the Port Dickson parliamentary by-election.

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