Pardons Board disposes of petition from Anwar’s family

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KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 27): An application by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's family to obtain royal pardon for the opposition leader, who is now serving a five-year jail term for sodomy, has been rejected.

Sources told The Malaysian Insider that the application by Anwar's wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and daughter Nurul Izzah was disposed of on March 16.

However, it is not known whether Anwar, Dr Wan Azizah and Nurul and the Dewan Rakyat Speaker were officially notified.

This morning, senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh submitted an affidavit to the court and lawyers N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya that the board had disposed of the petition.

Amarjeet, who is also head of the civil division in the Attorney-General's Chambers, told reporters that since the petition had been disposed of, the position of the constitution was clear on the matter.

He said that an affidavit affirmed by the director-general of the legal division of the Prime Minister’s Department has been sent to the applicants.

The affidavit states that Anwar's custodial sentence should be maintained.

The director-general of the legal division sits on the secretariat of the board, which is chaired by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.

With this, Anwar’s application to seek a pardon is likely to be rejected and he has to serve his five-year jail sentence for sodomy.

This also means that the Permatang Pauh MP’s seat, which he holds, will soon be declared vacant.

In an immediate response, Anwar's daughter and Lembah Pantai MP, Nurul Izzah said in a text message: "We have not received any response from the official channels. YDP Agong (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) holds the decision, not the board.

"Only YDP Agong must formally state the decision. As such, we cannot accept any statement coming out from interested parties.

"We await official confirmation on the status of the petition this coming Wednesday."

She did not elaborate on who the "interested parties" were.

Judge Datuk Asmabi Mohamad today adjourned Anwar's leave application hearing for judicial review to Wednesday.

The judicial review is to challenge the director-general of Prisons and Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for their failure to allow him to attend Parliament.

The department on March 10 announced that Anwar would not be allowed to attend the current sitting of Parliament, which ends on April 9.

Prisons commissioner general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Omar said the decision was made after weighing "considerations" and based on Section 31 (1) (a) of the Prisons Act 1995.

Surendran, who is also the Padang Serai MP, said under the Prisons Act, the director of prisons had the authority to decide if the opposition leader could attend the Parliament sitting.

"The home minister also has authority as the one who directs the Prisons Department," he had said.

Anwar lost his final appeal last month before the Federal Court for having carnal intercourse with his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008.

His family has filed a royal pardon to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong on February 24.

The Malaysian Insider understands Dr Wan Azizah and Nurul are expected to challenge the disposal of the petition.