By12 April 2016)
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s jailed Anwar Ibrahim said it is not difficult representing himself, as his bid to challenge a decision not to grant him a royal pardon hit more delays on Tuesday (Apr 12).
The former opposition leader is serving out a five-year jail sentence on a sodomy conviction. He decided to represent himself in his application for leave to seek a judicial review of the Pardons Board’s rejection.
The hearing for this was meant to be on Tuesday after earlier postponements, but it has now been pushed to Apr 26.
His family’s lawyers say he needs more time to prepare by himself from prison. They allege he was not given a copy of the opposing counsel’s submissions in advance, and does not have access to sufficient resources such as a law library to prepare himself for his case from prison.
But Anwar told Channel NewsAsia he does not find representing himself difficult, saying it was just “extra work”. “You need to study, understand the law,” he added.
Anwar has 16 ongoing court cases and he decided to represent himself in several matters after he was given only an hour a week to meet with lawyers at prison.
Anwar Ibrahim’s family sought a royal pardon for him not long after he was convicted in February last year, but the Federal Territories Pardons Board rejected that request last March. His family then applied for leave for a judicial review in June 2015.
They now want the Pardons Board to meet again and dispense what they view as proper advice to the King of Malaysia, who presides over the board. As an alternative, they want an order to compel the board to advise the King to pardon and release Anwar.
Without a pardon, he faces another four years in prison – though he can be released early on good behaviour. However, the 68-year-old’s family feels that is still too long due to his health.
Anwar has always maintained that the sodomy charges he has faced are politically motivated, but the Malaysian government has insisted it had nothing to do with the decision to send him to jail.