PUTRAJAYA — January 18, 2017: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his family were allowed by the Court of Appeal today to refer legal questions to the federal court to decide whether the decision-making process of the Pardons Board over pardons could be challenge in court.
A three-man panel chaired by Justice Datuk Rohana Yusuf set aside the decision of the high court’s dismissal of their application to refer two questions of law to the federal court and directed the high court to make the reference to the former.
Rohana also reinstated Anwar and his family’s application to seek for leave to commence a judicial review to challenge the Pardons Board’s dismissal of his petition for a pardon over his sodomy conviction.
This application was dismissed by a high court in Kuala Lumpur on July 15 last year.
The judge also ordered the proceeding in the high court on Anwar’s application for leave to initiate judicial review be stayed pending disposal of
the matter at the federal court and set February 2 for case management at the high court.
In her decision, Rohana agreed that the appellants had met the requirements under the Courts of Judicature Act to refer legal questions to the federal court.
She said the high court judge erred in her exercise of discretion in not referring the questions posed to the federal court. The other judges on the panel were Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam and Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan.
Anwar, who was present during today’s proceedings, is currently serving a five-year jail term after he lost his appeal at the federal court to set aside his conviction for sodomising his former aide Mohd. Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008.
Anwar’s lead counsel N. Surendran submitted that there was ambiguity in the law because two case laws which were applied by the high court judge when dismissing Anwar’s application were not correctly decided.
He said the two case laws treated the power of pardon as the sole prerogative of the Yang di Pertuan Agong.
Surendran referred an amendment to Article 40 (1) (a) of the federal Constitution in 1994 which states that the Yang di Pertuan Agong is bound to accept the advice of the Pardons Board and that the Juraimi Husin vs Pardons Board, State of Pahang, and Ors case law did not consider that amendment.
Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan argued that the Yang di Pertuan Agong has the sole power to decide on clemency and that he is not bound to take the advice of the Pardons Board. — Bernama