Mokhtar Hashim, a former minister who was famously sentenced to death for murder in 1983 before getting a royal pardon, died early this morning at the age of 78.
Mokhtar, who was the culture, youth and sports minister in Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Cabinet, was convicted of the murder of Mohamad Taha, the then-speaker of Negeri Sembilan.
Taha was gunned down on April 14, 1982, in Gemencheh, Negeri Sembilan, just a week before the general election.
Mokhtar was at that time the incumbent MP for Tampin, and retained the seat in the polls. Less than three months later, he was arrested. He was replaced as the culture, youth and sports minister by Anwar Ibrahim.
Taha’s murder was said to be linked to internal political rivalry in Umno between him and Mokhtar.
Mokhtar’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and in 1991, he was released from prison following a royal pardon by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.