No Respite For A Shirt-Lifter – Malaysia’s Anwar disqualified as Member of Parliament



KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been disqualified as a Member of Parliament on Wednesday (Apr 1), with the Speaker of the Malaysian Parliament sending a notice of vacancy to the Elections Commission.

This took place after a petition seeking a royal pardon for Anwar was rejected by the Pardons Board.

This leaves his parliamentary seat in Permatang Pauh vacant, paving the way for a by-election.

Anwar’s wife, Dr Wan Azizah, had petitioned the palace on Feb 24 for a royal pardon to free her husband. However in a letter dated Mar 26, the secretariat of the Pardons Board said the board, which is under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department, met on Mar 16 and rejected the petition.

Anwar was sentenced to five years in prison after the federal court upheld a Feb 10 sodomy conviction.

Ms Latheefa Koya, Anwar’s lawyer, said: “As far as he is concerned, because he has not received any such decision from the Yang diPertuan Agong, we are not accepting any claim by the AG chambers that a decision has been made by the secretariat of the Pardons Board and the pardon has been disposed of.”

The ruling government MPs have urged all sides to accept the Pardons Board decision that will see Anwar being disqualified as a Member of Parliament.

Under the Constitution, MPs automatically lose their seats if they are jailed more than one year or fined over RM2,000.

The Speaker of Parliament Pandikar Amin has declared Anwar’s seat as vacant as of Mar 16, following the Pardons Board’s decision to uphold the jail sentence. The Election Commission has been notified and will meet on Apr 8 to decide on nomination and polling dates for the Permatang Pauh by-election.

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