KUALA LUMPUR April 2 – Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s disqualification as the Permatang Pauh MP by the Dewan Rakyat Speaker is in breach of the Federal Constitution, said his lawyer Latheefa Koya. In a statement, Latheefa said that the Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia’s announcement was based on a letter that he received from the Pardons Board which stated that the jail sentence for Anwar should be continued.
“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) has the sole discretion to decide on a petition for a pardon in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan as provided in Article 42 of the Federal Constitution. “(As such) the Speaker’s announcement is in breach of provisions of the Federal Constitution and is premature. The Permatang Pauh seat is not vacant,” she said. The PKR lawyer also added that no decision on the rejection of the petition has been communicated by the King or palace to Anwar or his family who in fact had made the pardon application.
“The Speaker’s own announcement is only based on the communication by the board and not by the King or the palace. “In short no valid decision has been made and communicated as laid down in Article 42 read together with Article 48 of the Constitution,” she stressed. She said it should be noted that the board’s letter merely referred to an undated petition under regulations 113.
“Under the Prison’s regulation 113, it allows a prisoner to make a petition to the King. No such application was made by Anwar,” she said. Furthermore, she said that the letter states the board made the decision on March 16. “However this purported decision was only made known 10 days later via an affidavit in response to an application by Anwar to attend Parliament.
“As such both the Speaker and the Election Commission had made a serious error in considering that the pardon petition has been disposed off and declaring the Permatang Pauh seat as vacant,” she added. Latheefa’s response came after the Dewan Rakyat today officially announced that the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat earlier held by Anwar Ibrahim as vacant. The announcement was made by Deputy Speaker, Datuk Ismail Said following the decision of the Pardon’s Board which had earlier rejected Anwar’s appeal.