Deputy minister says Anwar’s royal pardon decision is politics free

Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

(The Malaysian Insider) – The power to grant a pardon lies with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and is without any political interference, says Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said this after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s family made a surprise decision to seek clemency from the ruler today.

Wan Junaidi said the process would have to go through the Pardons Board, which will advise the king after an application was made.

“The Board is under the king and the palace. It has nothing to do with politics,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

He added that the Pardons Board was an independent body that even the prime minister himself had no say over.

“It is not a political body. In fact, in any federal body, the prime minister cannot be involved so no one can influence the decision it makes,” he added.

Wan Junaidi said that seeking a pardon was not a quick process and would have to go through several stages before the king could make any decision to approve the petition.

“I think he (Anwar) has taken into account all aspects in order to seek a royal pardon but this process will not be as fast as we expect it to be,” Wan Junaidi added.

Former attorney-general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman told The Malaysian Insider that the application for pardon would be heard by the King and the members of the board would include the prime minister, the attorney-general.

He said the board was not bound by the opinion of the present attorney-general, although it ought to consider his advice.

Anwar’s family led by his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also PKR president, submitted an application for a royal pardon over Anwar’s sodomy conviction today.

The deadline is tonight and failing to do so would lead to his disqualification as Permatang Pauh MP.