KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — Coming again to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s defence, former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim disagreed today with an Umno man’s claim that the Opposition Leader was being a coward by seeking royal pardon for his Sodomy II conviction.
Instead, Zaid, a former Umno man himself, pointed out that Anwar was merely exercising his last remaining legal option to regain his freedom.
“Fuad Zakarshi called Anwar a coward. No he is not a coward, just seeking a remedy available to him. Mat organise Pardon Anwar drive,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
In a statement carried by news portal Malaysiakini this afternoon, Umno supreme council member Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi labelled Anwar a coward for applying for pardon and claimed that the attempt would set a bad precedent.
Datuk Zaid Ibrahim urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to support the application for pardon filed by Anwar’s family, claiming it would help the government gain international favour. — Picture by Choo Choy May
“How can a peliwat (sodomite) request for a pardon?” asked Puad Zarkashi.
“This will set a bad precedent, especially if he is pardoned. Imagine, after this, many sodomites and rapists will also request a royal pardon as well,” he was quoted saying.
Disagreeing, Zaid attacked Puad and ruling party Umno, saying the party’s leaders were incapable of understanding the concept of pardon.
“Hard for Umno fellas to understand the concept of pardon. They are more in tune when putting shame on others,” he wrote.
Yesterday on the microblogging site, Zaid urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to support the application for pardon filed by Anwar’s family, claiming it would help the government gain international favour.
He cited other cases in the past where similar pardons were granted, such as those of former Culture, Youth and Sports minister Datuk Mokhtar Hashim and former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Harun Idris.
Mokhtar was given a death sentence after he was found guilty of shooting his political rival Datuk Mohd Taha Talib in 1982. The sentence was subsequently reduced to life imprisonment.
According to past reports, Harun was charged with corruption and sentenced to six years in jail in 1976.
In comparison, Zaid said Anwar’s sodomy case was a “walk in the park”.
“In fact Prime Minister should support the application. It will get him good marks at home and abroad,” he wrote in a series of postings on the social media network.
He also challenged PAS’ conservative Ulama wing to support the pardon for Anwar, pointing out that “compassion” is a core Islamic principle.
Anwar’s family members submitted an application for royal pardon yesterday evening in hopes of freeing the leader from his Sungai Buloh cell and allowing him to retain his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat.
“By virtue of Article 42 of the Federal Constitution, we hope that the Royal institution would in the name of justice based on all the facts grant an appeal,” Anwar’s daughter Nurul Nuha said in a statement, adding that the family would continue to pursue and exhaust all available legal means to free Anwar.
Monday was the deadline for Anwar to file a petition for a royal pardon, which would have delayed his disqualification resulting from his five-year sentence on February 10 that is effective today.
Parliament Speaker Pandikar previously said Anwar will only be barred from being a federal lawmaker 14 days from February 10, based on Article 48 Clause 4 (a) of the Federal Constitution.
On February 10, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s 2014 ruling that reversed Anwar’s acquittal of sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, and sentenced the Permatang Pauh lawmaker to five years’ jail.