Anwar Ibrahim and his family are hopeful. They have petitioned the King for clemency.
The King is the fountainhead of justice. He must be free from petty considerations. Such as being reminded that Anwar is not pro King and Monarchy. UMNO leaders in the past have also run down the monarchy.
The UMNO people are fearful. They fear that the King may grant clemency to Anwar. So they have come out with some horrific warnings. A pardon would open the floodgates to many other petitions for pardon.
But the granting of pardon is the prerogative of the King. It’s a privilege enjoyed only by the King and at state level, by the Kings of those states. Saying it’s the prerogative of the King means the King is the reservoir of mercy.
The idea that a King is the reservoir of mercy directs the King to consider all relevant considerations to actually grant mercy. The King must consider all the reasons to grant mercy against the reasons for not granting. It also means the King need not consider the verdict of the Courts. He is independent of them.
The possibility of the King actually granting mercy casts fears deep in the minds of those people who hate Anwar.
But those people pressing for the refusal for pardon are actually saying to the King- don’t mess with the conviction by the court. They are actually saying the King has no power to alter the decision of the courts. I think this is a serious challenge to the prerogatives of the King. These are attacks on the privileges provided for by our constitution to the King.
Let the King decide what is best. By submitting the appeal, Anwar and his family are accepting that his chances of getting a pardon are 50/50. He and the family are also taking risks- if he fails to secure it, it will not be opened for him to say the king is unjust. That would be politically suicidal.
Some people like to show they are more pious and god fearing than others. It is a badge of pomposity and even arrogance. They then start judging others with reference to their own personalised moral standards. They intercede on God’s behalf. We have so many behaving like omniscient moral busybodies.
But probably more people ignore these moral busybodies. The contention of so many people is, Anwar’s punishers have managed to convince only the 5 sitting judges. That is in the legal court.
In the court of public opinion, the verdict is seen as flawed because to them, there are many reasonable doubts.
The UMNO leaders know this. They must break the spirits of the juries in the court of public opinion. That is why, UMNO is not angry that its counsel, Shafee Abdullah is going around doing a roadshow. The government takes us as fools if they say UMNO is not behind the roadshows.
They need a win in the court of public opinion because now, the people will judge them. Judgement by the people to UMNO, which forms the government is far more important than the judgement of 5 robed men in the Palace of Justice.
As to the moral pontiffs, they go around the country, damning Anwar and insisting that he must be punished for the crime for which he has been convicted. And because they intercede on God’s behalf, they precede the Agong by insisting Anwar should not be pardoned.
We don’t know how the King will decide. Or when he will decide.
Anwar’s takes a risk of his plea for mercy being rejected. That indicates Anwar is ready to accept closure on his case- at least until he hopes a new government comes into power. If the plea is rejected, Anwar will remain a guest at Sungai Buloh Hilton for the duration of his sentence.
Oh- Anwar cannot petition the King because Anwar dislikes the monarchy.
It does not matter if Anwar is liked by the monarchs or he on his part likes or dislikes the Monarchy. We know he has crossed swords with some of them during the course of his career. The King as current leader of the Malaysian Monarchs cannot be infected with these subjective feelings. The King is an institution which is impersonal, unmoved by petty considerations. He is the fountainhead of justice. He is positioned thus in our Constitution.
It’s beyond admission of guilt now. You and I may think that way- his plea is an admission of guilt. As Zaid Ibrahim and others say- this is incorrect thinking and it’s not straight thinking. We are punch-drunk. The government has hit our heads so many times.
Anwar and family believed they have been wronged despite the verdict and is now petitioning the Agong based on the belief he has been wronged. The family has listed down various reasons to support the belief.
The other side are saying that Anwar has done a most heinous of crime such that granting clemency to it, would open the floodgates to every sodomite, fornicator, and paedophiliac lunatics scrambling to gain royal pardon. You can almost feel a blood lust in their insistence.
Well, to these self-appointed omnipotent moral pontiffs- I shall say Anwar isn’t any tom dick and harry. He has become author to this cause celebre for the singular fact that his name is Awnar Ibrahim, de factor leader of PKR, leader of the opposition, former deputy president of UMNO and former deputy minister. It’s because his name is Anwar Ibrahim.
Anwar’s latest action, executed through members of his family has succeeded in eliciting some of the most comical of responses. One person said that if he were the Raja, he will not grant clemency. No one is stopping this chap to declare himself raja- Raja Kapoor, Raja Kelawar or Raja Lekok- the choice is his.
The UMNO man who lost in Batu Pahat shows to all of us especially to UMNO members, why he got on the toes of the Ruler of Johore. The chap said- Arguing that a “sodomite” seeking a royal pardon would set a bad precedent, especially if he is indeed pardoned, Puad added, “After this, every rapist and sodomite will also apply for a pardon.” See his remarks here.
He is preceding the Agong himself. The teaspoon acts bigger than the ladle. The Agong has not even commanded the presence of a pardons board, this chap has issued edicts. Now we know why, the Johore Palace wanted him to be replaced as MP for Batu Pahat.
The man from Tanjung Karang Selangor is his usual combative self-describing Anwar as bacul. That’s equivalent to a spineless coward in English.
I am not going to associate this move as an out of the box thinking by Anwar in prison- he is more concerned about his back pains and mosquitoes. Rather, this move is the result of intense introspection by members of his family to which Anwar despite telling me a month ago, that he doesn’t care, has finally gave in to the persuasions of family members. He would like to enjoy his time as grandfather to his grandchildren.
It’s a straightforward move to secure clemency and pardon from the Agong as the fountainhead of justice. The basis of support from the others outside his immediate family circle, is to insist and maintain Anwar Ibrahim is a prisoner of conscience and that his second round of prosecution, as in the first one- was politically motivated.