After Anwar, Pardons Board seeks to challenge PD voter’s suit too

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Territories Pardons Board today objected to the lawsuit by a Port Dickson voter against the board and PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim over the status of his royal pardon.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers, which is representing the board, said the voter, Noraziah Mohd Shariff, should have filed an election petition to question Anwar’s eligibility to contest, not a lawsuit.

“The board raised a preliminary objection today because the normal civil courts have no power to hear disputes on election matters.

“Any dispute should be heard before the election courts,” said senior federal counsel Suzana Atan.

High Court judge Azizah Nawawi set Nov 8 to hear the board’s objection along with Anwar’s bid to strike out the lawsuit.

This means that the court will only hear the suit nearly a month after the by-election which is scheduled for Oct 13.

Yesterday, Anwar sought to nullify Noraziah’s lawsuit, saying she had no legal standing to file the case and that the royal pardon issue was non-justiciable.

Noraziah filed the lawsuit on Sept 28, one day before nomination day for the Port Dickson by-election.

She sought a court declaration that the Federal Territories Pardons Board, formed to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, had not followed the Federal Constitution.

She also sought a declaration that the pardon granted to Anwar was null and void as the board was not formed in accordance with Article 42(5) of the Federal Constitution.

She claimed Anwar’s pardon did not qualify him to contest in Port Dickson as the constitution only allows a convicted person to stand as an elected representative after five years.

Anwar was the Permatang Pauh MP when he was sentenced to five years in prison for sodomy. He was given a royal pardon and released after the May 9 general election.

The Port Dickson by-election was triggered by the resignation of Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, who vacated his seat to pave the way for Anwar’s attempt to return to Dewan Rakyat.

Anwar is contesting against six other candidates: PAS’ Mohd Nazari Mokhtar, a former air force officer; former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Isa Samad, Stevie Chan, Lau Seck Yan, Kan Chee Yuen and Anwar’s former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, who are contesting as independents.