Anwar disputes lawyer’s legal standing to challenge pardons board’s decision

PKR president and Port Dickson MP Anwar Ibrahim.

KUALA LUMPUR: Anwar Ibrahim today challenged the legal standing of lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz to obtain a declaration that the clemency given to him two years ago was not in accordance with the law.

His lawyer J Leela said Anwar also maintained that Khairul’s action was an abuse of court process.

In outlining Anwar’s broad grounds to strike out the suit, she said he had also stated in his striking out application filed on May 13 that the court had no jurisdiction to hear it.

“The clemency process is a royal prerogative and not subject to challenge in court,” she said after attending case management before High Court judge Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamad.

The judge will hear the striking-out application on Aug 14.

Leela said the Federal Territories Pardons Board, which was named as the first defendant, would also file a similar striking-out application by today.

THe board was represented by senior federal counsel Natra Idris.

On Feb 26, Khairul filed a writ seeking a declaration that the board was not formed in accordance with provisions in the Federal Constitution.

He said he was of the view that the composition of the board was not in line with Article 42(5) to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to pardon Anwar.

“I have the legal standing to bring the action as I am an aggrieved person,” he added.

Khairul said then-prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced two days after Pakatan Harapan was voted into federal power that the king had granted Anwar a full pardon.

“The pardon came about just before a Cabinet was formed. This was in violation of Articles 42(4) and (5) of the supreme law of the nation,” he said.

He added that the board had not existed on May 16 to advise the king to pardon Anwar, who is now the Port Dickson MP.

Khairul said a board member, then-attorney-general (AG) Mohamed Apandi Ali, had been on garden leave while the federal territories minister had yet to be appointed.

He added that Apandi had not assigned the solicitor-general to represent him at the meeting.

Article 42(5) states that the federal territories board membership should consist of the AG, the minister and at least three others to advise the king.

The Federal Court in early 2015 affirmed Anwar’s five-year jail term for a charge of sodomising his aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Anwar told a press conference on May 16 that the king had granted him a full pardon in his three trials – abuse of power, Sodomy 1 and Sodomy 2 – on the basis that there had been a “miscarriage of justice”.

He said the pardon was also on the basis that there was a conspiracy to condemn him and assassinate his political character.

“The pardon is complete and unconditional. The convictions are automatically erased,” he said.

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