Anwar's lawyers want confirmation

Anwar's lawyers want confirmation
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim

KUALA LUMPUR - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will not get a royal pardon and as a result will no longer be the Member of Parliament (MP) for Permatang Pauh.

Senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh and Alice Loke confirmed at the Appellate and Special Powers Court here yesterday that the jailed Opposition Leader's petition for a royal pardon had been disposed.

"A decision has been made and the (Federal) Constitution has spoken for itself," Amarjeet told reporters.

However, Anwar's lawyers - N. Surendran, Latheefa Koya and Dr Dheeraj Bhar - refused to accept the statement.

They said the decision rejecting the petition for the pardon had not been confirmed and would only be made known in court on Wednesday.

"We need to verify, this is not conclusive," Latheefa said to reporters after a private meeting with Amarjeet and Loke as well as the judge, Justice Datuk Asmabi Mohamad.

Also, Anwar and his family have not been told of the decision at all, said Surendran.

According to Amarjeet, the decision was conveyed to Anwar's lawyers yesterday morning in an affidavit dated Thursday.

He said the affidavit was the result of a query by the Attorney-General's Chambers on the status of Anwar's petition for the royal pardon.

The document was issued by Prime Minister's Department Legal Affairs Division director-general Datuk Nursiah Arshad, who is on the secretariat of the Pardons Board that is chaired by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.

Anwar is serving a five-year jail term for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

On Feb 10, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal's ruling that reversed a High Court decision acquitting him of the crime.

Anwar's family petitioned for a royal pardon for him on Feb 24, without which he would be unable to hold on to his MP seat and a by-election would be on the cards.

Under Article 42(1) of the Federal Constitution, the King has the power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites for offences committed in Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.

Justice Asmabi adjourned to Wednesday the hearing of Anwar's application for a judicial review of the decision barring him from attending Parliament that convened on March 9.

The Home Minister and Commissioner-General of Prisons barred him from attending the meetings.

Anwar contended that the decision was unconstitutional, invalid and void because he was still an MP and that his petition for a royal pardon was pending.

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