Is the Pardons Board above the Federal Constitution?

Letter to Editor

THERE are about 50,000 prisoners in our jails, and it begs the question if a recently-convicted prisoner can beat the queue to get an early pardon, and if so, what are the requirements for one to be eligible to submit an application to the Pardons Board.

These questions, I’m sure, are the same ones that can be found running through the minds of every citizen of this country.

Educating myself without any legal training through the internet, I came to understand under article 42 (5), a prisoner can apply for pardon, after going through the due process as stipulated in the Federal Constitution.

The Pardons Board must not be perceived as above the Federal constitution, if it does not follow the due process and procedure of the constitution.

I also came to understand that a convict can apply for pardon only after serving one-third of the jail sentences, according to the Federal constitution.

In addition, I also came to understand that the Pardons Board meets three to four times a year, and each time they sit, they consider only ten applications. So there are waiting times for new convicts, if not it will be unfair for those who are waiting!

So I am puzzled with the recent decision of the Pardons Board in the case of a certain former premier. Does the Pardons Board give special preferences for a convict to beat the queue when others are waiting for years?

Do elites in the Malaysian society need not have to follow the Federal Constitution, as to not serve the one-third prison sentences? Though a person can beat the queue of the thousands of prisoners, is he or she allowed to seek pardon before fulfilling one-third of their jail sentence?

Though there are various interpretations and permutations to the Federal Constitution dished out by legal eagles according to their knowledge and experience in legal matters, at the end of the day there must be coherence, consistency and harmony among the various organs or entities of the government, to be seen and felt by citizens that this country is governed by a “fair government” that is for all Malaysians and not just the elites.

If Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or anybody in the government can answer these simple questions without going into detail of other issues related to Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his other pending trials, it will help Malaysians not to lose confidence and respect in all the organs of the government.

This is an issue of integrity and confidence which the government needs to address, otherwise the citizens may think that the Pardons Board is only meant for the elites of the Malaysian society to escape from prolonged jail sentences.

Of course, this is not forgetting the fact that an unemployed man was sentenced to six years in prison and one stroke of the cane by the sessions court for robbing a man at knife-point of a mere RM50 last week. – Feb 7, 2024


K. Tamil Maran (K.T. Maran)

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main pic credit: Bernama

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