KUALA LUMPUR – Gossip about jailed opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim being given an early discharge has resurfaced yet again and this time intertwined with the much anticipated 14th general elections to be held this year.
Where previous talk on this centred on him being granted a royal pardon, the latest rumour is more about Anwar being granted a parole.
But to prevent him from campaigning for the opposition, the report hinted that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will call GE14 ahead of Anwar’s supposedly early release.
The portal however didn’t say why the government should allow someone like Anwar to be freed early, especially during an election year.
Those who have been talking about a “conventional” early release for Anwar appear to have missed the point and have probably not read enough about the laws on such a possibility.
A source from the Prisons Department pointed out that even if he wants to, Anwar has no legal basis for a parole.
“There are two ways in which Anwar can get out of prison early. One is to secure a royal pardon and the other to apply for parole.
“But so far we have yet to receive any parole application. The point is even if he wants to apply, he is not eligible because of the nature of his offence,” said the source.
Citing the Prison Act, the source explained that a parole cannot be granted to someone who commits any of these offences: wages war or attempts to wage war against the King; gives a false statement in death-penalty cases, murder, rape; and performs unnatural sex which includes homosexual and incestuous sex.
Anwar applied for a royal pardon in 2015 and again last year but both were rejected due to undisclosed reasons which his legal team claimed to be very suspicious.
It was also reported that even if Anwar was to be discharged early from prison, it is legally impossible for him to contest in an election immediately because Article 48 (3) of the federal Constitution states that anyone who is jailed for more than a year or fined more than RM2, 000 will be barred from contesting in any election for five years.