KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 — Former law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim explained today that the “full pardon” received by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from the Agong is the “free pardon” the PKR president-elect needed in order to contest the forced Port Dickson by-election.
In a blog post today, the DAP member said that concerns raised by PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan that Anwar is not eligible to contest since he did not receive a “free pardon” did not hold any merit.
“There is no difference in the accepted meaning of “full pardon” and “free pardon”.
“Both terms can be used interchangeably to signify that the person is pardoned without conditions,” said Zaid in his blog.
Takiyuddin had said that Anwar’s pardon was not a “free pardon” required under Article 42(5) of the Federal Constitution that would have enabled him to stand as a candidate in the election.
He also said that PAS was mulling bringing the matter to court to nullify Anwar’s candidacy.
Zaid said the confusion arose mainly to the lack of understanding about the concept of a royal pardon.
“A royal pardon is non-justiciable, meaning that PAS or anyone else cannot challenge the exercise of such royal prerogative in a court of law,” stressed Zaid.
“Thus, some English jurists described the royal pardon as a ‘full pardon’ whilst others used the term ‘free pardon’, but both refer to the same exercise of royal prerogative.”
Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution states that an MP is disqualified if sentenced to jail for a term of not less than one year or is fined not less than RM2 000 and has not received a pardon.
A Port Dickson voter has filed a motion in the Kuala Lumpur High Court that the pardon that Anwar received from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was defective since the Pardons Board had not convened before the pardon was granted.
Former chief justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad also said yesterday that a pardon does not automatically means that Anwar can contest this by-election.