(AA) – Malaysia’s imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been denied a royal pardon, forcing the former deputy prime minister to serve a five-year prison term for sodomising his former aide.
The Malaysia King Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah rejected the plea March 16 during a Pardons Board meeting, the government’s senior counsel Amarjeet Singh said in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
Ibrahim’s family had submitted the petition for the pardon in February after his sentence for sodomising former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan was upheld by Malaysia’s highest court.
As a result of the rejection, Ibrahim automatically loses his status as a parliamentarian for Permatang Pauh constituency in Penang.
Ibrahim, possessing huge support among Malaysians since his entrenchment as deputy prime minister in former premier Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s government in 1998, has stood firm that the case is politically motivated.
The Federal Court is the highest court in the judiciary system of Malaysia and its decision was final and cannot be appealed.
However, under Article 42 of the country’s Federal Constitution, the Malaysian King has power to grant pardons.
Ibrahim’s last legal option is to file a judicial review with the Federal Court.
His lawyers said Wednesday that no decision had been made yet on such an application.