KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 – Seeking a royal pardon for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim may merely be Pakatan Rakyat’s strategy to keep hold of the Opposition leader’s Permatang Pauh constituency. Political observer Datuk Abdul Razak Baba told the reporter that Anwar’s family’s eleventh hour decision might have been influenced by those who feared that the Opposition coalition might not stand a chance should a by-election be called for.
“Recent statements made it appeared as if obtaining royal pardon was out of the question. The last minute decision to do so, even though it implied an admission of guilt to the sodomy 2 charge, showed that party members were desperate. “They may also be planning to delay the Permatang Pauh by-election and let the Chempaka by-election be completed first.”
The Kelantan state seat fell vacant following the death of its incumbent PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat. Political analyst Datuk Dr Zainal Kling was in consensus, but pointed out the irony of Anwar now seeking assistance from the royal institution, which in the past he had supposedly disrespected.
He said that by surrendering his fate to the royals, the PKR de facto leader admitted to his guilt. “I don’t think it was appropriate for him to ask for a royal pardon. In his whole life he has made it clear that he does not like the royal institution. “Even with the Selangor Sultan, he had acted in a manner that was disrespectful and defiant.
“If Anwar actually obtains the pardon, then he must change and call for his supporters to respect the nation’s oldest institution.” On the chances of Anwar actually being pardoned, another political analyst, Dr Azizuddin Mohd Sani, said the possibility was slim as a government recommendation was needed of which he said was “unlikely”.
Azizuddin added that whatever the outcome was, Pakatan Rakyat needed to move forward and appoint a person to take over Anwar’s position as its leader. “They have to decide if they actually want to wait for Anwar to be pardoned which could take up to a year or more.
“In the meantime, without a replacement Pakatan will miss out on a lot of opportunity to be involved in national decisions such as the tabling of 2016 Budget. “Anwar won’t be around for some time. Pakatan should focus on moving forward instead of being stuck on one issue at the expense of other more important ones, the ones they were elected for.”