Not too long ago, there has been conflicting news circulating the social media regarding Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s (“DSAI”) release date from Sungai Buloh Prison.
On 6th January, 2018, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah announced that DSAI was scheduled to be released on June 11 this year, while a source from the Home Ministry was quoted that the PKR de facto leader would only be released in February 2019.
The Prisons Department later clarified the issue and said that DSAI could be released on 8th June 2018.
The latest by Head of Governance, Law and Public Administration Cluster, National Professionarial Councill, Prof Nik Ahmad Kamal was reported by Sinar harian over Sunday that DSAI's ability in public speeking and political campaign could affect Barisan Nasional campaign thus advising government to call for the general election before June.
Now, many people are wondering why DSAI, whose conviction was upheld by the Federal Court in February 2015 and was sentenced to five years imprisonment from that date would be released almost one and a half years earlier.
To anwer to this question lies in section 44 of the Prison Act 1995 and regulation 43 of the Prisons Regulations 2000 which provides for a remission system where a one-third remission of a detainee’s sentence may be awarded to the detainee for good behaviour.
(Both the Prison Act 1995 and Prisons Regulations 2000 may be accessed on the Prisons Department website: http://www.prison.gov.my/portal/page/portal/english/undang2_en)
While in practice, the remission is awarded almost automatically to all detainees who is sentenced to imprisonment for a term exceeding one month, the good behaviour remission may in certain circumstances, where the detainee is found guilty of committing a prison offence offence (for e.g. quarrelling with other inmates, smuggling prohibited items into prison) may be forfeited by the Commissioner General.
Likewise, the remission which has been forfeited may also subsequently be restored by the Commissioner General.
Returning to DSAI’s case, although he has been sentenced to 5 years imprisonment by the Federal Court, he would effectively only serve about 40 months of prison time.
However, unless he is released earlier on parole or if he obtains a royal pardon (where his sentence is commuted), it appears unlikely that he would see the light of day any sooner than June this year.