PUTRAJAYA: A lawyer questioning the legality of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s royal pardon has failed in his attempt to appeal.
A three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Justice, chaired by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, yesterday dismissed Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz’s motions for leave to appeal here.
Other judges on the bench were Justices P. Nallini and Vernon Ong Lam Kiat.
In the unanimous decision, the chief justice said the matter had become academic.
She said the Court of Appeal found that the parole board was properly composed.
The panel agreed that the leave issues proposed by the applicant did not meet the threshold set by Section 96(a) or Section 96(b) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.
“We agree that the first set of questions is a finding of fact and that is not the threshold,” the chief justice said.
On the advice of the Parolees Board to Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the court found that there was no basis for accepting any misrepresentation in the advice offered.
Regarding the conviction, the court found that the pardon document contained no indication that the conviction was overturned.
“There is no question that the power of the court is being usurped,” the chief justice said. The court did not issue a cost order.
The panel previously heard input from Attorney J. Leela, who appeared for Anwar, Attorney Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla for Mohd Khairul, and Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan for the Pardons Panel.
Mohd Khairul filed his lawsuit on February 26, 2020 to challenge Anwar’s royal pardon in relation to the Tambun MP’s sodomy conviction in relation to Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
He named the Parolees Board and Anwar as the first and second defendants, respectively.
He claimed that there were illegal and unconstitutional steps taken to ensure Anwar was pardoned and released from his prison sentence after a new government was formed after the 14th general election, allowing Anwar to run in a by-election and as an MP to be elected by Port Dickson.
Mohd Khairul questioned the legality of the parole board that had been convened and demanded a declaration that the pardon granted was illegal and void from the outset.
On September 21, 2020, a High Court denied Anwar and the Pardons and Pardons Board’s motion to have the claim removed.
On his dismissal, High Court Judge Judge Akhtar Tahir ruled that there were trivial issues that needed to be heard fully, noting that Mohd Khairul had standing in the case as a member of the public.
Anwar and the Board subsequently appealed the decision and on 21 September 2021 the Court of Appeal allowed their appeal against the High Court decision.
The Court of Appeal said Mohd Khairul had no right to challenge the clemency or the advice of the Yang-di Pertuan Agong Parolees Committee on granting the pardon.
In yesterday’s trial, Mohd Khairul applied for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision.