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Thursday, February 26, 2015

THAT'S THEORY, WE KNOW REALITY! King not obliged to listen to PM on Anwar pardon - expert

THAT'S THEORY, WE KNOW REALITY! King not obliged to listen to PM on Anwar pardon - expert
Even though the Yang di-Pertuan Agong must consider the attorney-general's or prime minister's advice when deciding to grant his royal pardon, it would be ‘illogical’ for the monarch to do so in the case of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, says constitutional expert Abdul Aziz Bari.
This is because, Aziz said, the attorney-general and government were against setting Anwar free and would, in fact, want his incarceration to be continued.
"The Agong may listen to the attorney-general or ministerial advice, but here in this case, they were the ones who pushed hard for a heavier sentence on Anwar.
"Thus it is illogical to specify that the Agong is under a duty to listen to them
"This proposition would effectively reduce the Agong to a mere puppet and runs counter to the mechanism of the royal pardon itself," the professor said in a statement today.
Aziz said the main guiding principle in this case should be justice served and seen to be served.
"Thus, while constitutionally it is a duty of the King to consider the advice of the government when granting a royal pardon, he is not under obligation to act on it. What ought to guide the Agong is the deliverance of justice in the present case," he said.
Rectify weaknesses
Anwar's family on Tuesday filed a last minute petition to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong seeking pardon for the Permatang Pauh MP.
This came after the Federal Court on Feb 10 upheld Anwar's sodomy conviction and five-year jail sentence.
Anwar's pardon appeal will go to the Federal Territories Pardons Board comprising the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, the attorney-general, the federal territories minister and three individuals (not elected representatives) appointed by the Agong on the advice of the prime minister.
Aziz also said seeking a royal pardon should not be seen as an admission of guilt.
"Like in other parts of the Commonwealth, such power is vested in the state and exercised by the head of state with a view to rectify weaknesses in the administration of the justice system.
"This includes miscarriage of justice that may not be rectified by any other means. Or when the appeal stages have all been exhausted," Aziz said. - M'kini

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