Monday, March 1, 2021

Anwar fails to strike out suit on royal pardon

The court rules that there are triable issues which need to be heard in full.

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PKR president Anwar Ibrahim today failed in his bid to strike out an originating summons filed by lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz over the pardon granted to him for his conviction and imprisonment for sodomising an aide.

High Court judge Akhtar Tahir also dismissed a similar application by the Pardons Board.

He ruled that the plaintiff, Khairul, had the locus standi to initiate the suit as he was a member of the public and a lawyer.

He also said there were triable issues that needed to be heard in full.

He said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had exercised his executive power in granting Anwar the pardon.

“If he exercised executive power, how can it (the matter) not be justiciable? It’s not a royal pardon. It’s an executive pardon because he is taking the role of the executive. So, if he is exercising executive power, then there are procedures and laws when you can question the executive power,” he said.

Akhtar also said this was not a clear-cut case which could be summarily dismissed.

He said any reasons for a pardon should be stated, as those convicted of similar charges would feel they had been subjected to injustice or unfairness.

“This is a civil matter that must be proven on the balance of probabilities,” he added.

He made no order as to costs, and fixed the trial to run from March 24 to 26 next year. Case management will take place on Feb 18.

Lawyers Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla and M Reza Hassan represented Khairul while Anwar was represented by J Leela. Senior federal counsel Natra Idris appeared for the Pardons Board.

Anwar, who is Port Dickson MP, filed the application on May 13. He said, among others, that Khairul had no locus standi to file the originating summons, and that it was frivolous, an embarrassment and abuse of the court process.

Khairul, through legal firm Raja Riza & Associates, had named the Pardons Board and Anwar as the first and second defendants in his summons filed on Feb 26 this year.

He claimed the pardon granted to Anwar by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong qas in contravention of Articles 42 (4) and (5) of the Federal Constitution.

He said pardons granted by the Agong should be based on evidence from the Pardons Board, which he argued had yet to be formally established following the 14th general election on May 9, 2018 and the formation of the new government.

He also claimed that after the election, several unconstitutional acts had been undertaken to ensure that Anwar received the pardon which released him from prison.

Anwar was sentenced to five years in jail for sodomising his aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

The conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Federal Court on Feb 10, 2015.

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