JASIN - All must respect the decision by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to reject the petition seeking a royal pardon for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The decision was made during a meeting of the Pardons Board on March 16.
Muhyiddin said it was the prerogative of the King whether or not to pardon Anwar, who is serving a five-year prison sentence for sodomy.
"We have to abide by the decision made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the MP for Permatang Pauh," he said after launching the POLYgreen development blueprint for polytechnics and strategic direction for green technology practices at Merlimau Polytechnic here yesterday.
The Permatang Pauh seat fell vacant following the Pardons Board's decision.
Former Law Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz said that the board's decision was correct because Anwar did not serve enough of his jail sentence before seeking a royal pardon.
"There shouldn't be double standards just because he is a former deputy prime minister or Opposition Leader," said the Tourism Minister.
"He has to serve a certain period before asking for a pardon.
"Also, anyone wanting a pardon must admit to the crime but Anwar has said he is not guilty, so he doesn't qualify for clemency.
"You cannot say that you are not guilty and yet seek a pardon."
Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the petition was probably turned down because Anwar was seeking a pardon just after the court decision without serving a significant portion of his sentence.
Meanwhile, DAP Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh Deo said a by-election in Permatang Pauh may be problematic for Pakatan Rakyat now that DAP has cut ties with PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
He said the severing of ties could hamper co-operation between the parties in the Opposition coalition.
"The issue is leadership. I don't know if there will be a consensus in Pakatan on this," he said.
PAS information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar downplayed the prospect of any non-co-operation, saying that the animosity between DAP and Hadi would not affect any preparations for a by-election.
"No, no. It will not affect our efforts in preparing for Permatang Pauh. We need to work together for our mutual benefit," he said.
PKR deputy president Azmin Ali said Anwar's family had not received any official notification on the matter.
Given this, added Azmin, who is also Selangor Mentri Besar, it could be perceived that the appeal is still under consideration.
PKR chief whip Datuk Johari Abdul said the announcement that the Permatang Pauh seat had fallen vacant was unexpected.