Appeal court fixes July 28 to hear challenge of Anwar's pardon

PUTRAJAYA (Jan 20): The Court of Appeal has fixed July 28 to hear Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's and the Pardons Board's appeal against the Kuala Lumpur High Court's refusal to strike out a challenge brought by a lawyer over the opposition leader's pardon for his second sodomy conviction.

The date was fixed today following case management, after last week's scheduled hearing of the matter had been postponed due to the demise of the mother of counsel Mohd Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who is representing lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz in the matter.

Senior federal counsel Shamsulbol Hassan, who appeared for the Pardons Board, Khairul Azam's solicitor Datuk M Reza Hassan and Anwar's counsel J Leela confirmed the new hearing date. 

In September last year, the KL High Court's Justice Datuk Akhtar Tahir had dismissed Anwar's and the Pardons Board's bid to strike out Khairul Azam's suit and ruled the lawyer had locus standi (legal standing) to file the challenge.

“He is a member of the public and qualified person, a lawyer, as well as there are triable issues that need to be heard in full,” Akhtar had then ruled.

Khairul Azam, in his suit filed on Feb 26 last year, named Anwar and the Federal Territories Pardons Board as defendants.

Claiming that the formation of the board on May 16, 2018 was wrong and illegal, the lawyer is questioning the advice given by the board to Yang di-Pertuan Agong in recommending the pardon.

He wants the court to declare the advice given by the board as null and void.

This is the second challenge on Anwar's pardon since his release from prison just after the 2018 general election. He was serving a five-year term after his conviction in his second sodomy trial.

Before the Port Dickson by-election in October 2018, a voter in the constituency filed a legal challenge over the pardon, but the matter was dismissed by the court. Anwar went on to win the by-election.

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