Anwar Ibrahim's party requests jailed leader be allowed to attend parliament

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (centre) arrives for the verdict in his final appeal against a conviction for sodomy, at the federal court in Putrajaya on Feb 10, 2015. Malaysia's opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has written to
Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (centre) arrives for the verdict in his final appeal against a conviction for sodomy, at the federal court in Putrajaya on Feb 10, 2015. Malaysia's opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has written to the Parliament Speaker requesting that arrangements be made for Anwar to attend the ensuing session which commences on March 9. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has written to the Parliament Speaker requesting that arrangements be made for their defacto leader Anwar Ibrahim to attend the ensuing session which commences on March 9.

The letter, sent by PKR's Parliamentary Whip Johari Abdul, quotes Article 48 of the Federal Constitution which states that Anwar is legally allowed to attend sittings until his pardon petition is finalised.

"The highest authority is the Constitution, and it says that as long as Anwar's pardon petition is not finalised, he has not lost his qualification as a Member of Parliament," Mr Johari said at a press conference at the PKR headquarters on Monday.

Mr Johari clarified that the petition sent to the Pardons Board - which is chaired by the Malaysian Sultan - could take as long as six months to be finalised, which entails that Anwar can still attend Parliament sittings.

Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia had clarified that Anwar was still a Member of Parliament and the opposition leader, Mr Johari said adding that the jailed leader had received an official invitation to attend the sitting.

If the request to Mr Pandikar fails, Mr Johari said that he would arrange for a follow-up meeting.

"I would then refer to Tan Sri (Pandikar). I will make an appointment with Tan Sri to get further clarification," said Mr Johari.

Anwar was jailed for five years in a second sodomy conviction on Feb 10, following which he has filed a petition for pardon.