Hearing of lawyer’s bid for leave to appeal in suit over legality of Anwar’s royal pardon on March 22


PUTRAJAYA —  The Federal Court has fixed March 22 to hear a lawyer’s application to seek leave to pursue his appeal for reinstatement of his lawsuit that questioned the legality of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s royal pardon for his sodomy conviction.

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who is representing Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, as well as Anwar’s counsel J.Leela, when contacted, confirmed that the Federal Court will hear the application on March 22.

Case management before Federal Court deputy registrar Mahyun Yusof was held today for the case.

In civil cases, litigants must first obtain leave before they can proceed with the appeals in the Federal Court.

On Sept 21, last year, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeals brought by Anwar, who is Port Dickson member of parliament and the Pardons Board of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur to strike out the lawsuit filed against them by Mohd Khairul.

The Court of Appeal three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Has Zanah Mehat, Datuk Indera Mohd Sofian Abd Razak and Datuk Lee Heng Cheong held that a decision made in pursuant to the exercise of royal pardon prerogative is non-justiciable. 

On Sept 21, 2020, High Court judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir had rejected Anwar and the Pardons Board’s applications to strike out the lawsuit prompting them to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Akhtar had held that Mohd Khairul Azam had the locus standi (legal standing) to initiate the legal suit as he is a member of the public and being a lawyer, a qualified person.

He (Justice Akhtar Tahir) also held that there were triable issues that needed to be heard in full and that it was not a clear case that could summarily be dismissed.

Mohd Khairul filed the originating summons on Feb 26, 2020, naming the Pardons Board and Anwar as respondents, claiming that several unconstitutional actions had been taken to ensure that Anwar received a pardon which released him from prison following the 14th General Election.

He (Mohd Khairul) claimed that the pardon granted to Anwar by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong contravened Articles 42 (4) and (5) of the Federal Constitution in view of the fact that pardons granted by the Agong should be based on the advice of the Pardons Board which he (Mohd Khairul) argued had not yet been formally formed following the General Election on May 9, 2018 and the formation of the new government.

Anwar had been sentenced to five years’ jail for sodomising his aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan by the Court of Appeal and his conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Federal Court on Feb 10, 2015.