Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi were ordered to file their defence in former UMNO leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan’s suit for breach of constitutional oath of office before the Yang di Pertuan Agong regarding the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s account.
The direction was made by High Court deputy registrar M Pavani following case management today.
Pavani also instructed that Najib and Zahid should file their applications to strike out the suit, should they choose to do so, before Nov 10.
“The counsel appearing for Najib and Ahmad Zahid informed Pavani that he had yet to obtain instruction on the striking out but the court gave a timeline to file the papers,” Khairuddin’s counsel Syed Iskandar told reporters.
The next case management will be heard before High Court judge Ahmad Zaidee Ibrahim on Nov 15.
Khairuddin was represented by Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar Al Mahdzar, while the prime minister and his deputy were represented by Yazid Mustaqim Roslan.
Najib and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi were ordered to file their defence by Oct 27.
Khairuddin, the former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chairman who was sacked in 2015, is an avid critic of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Khairuddin said sometime in March 2013, US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) was deposited in the private account of Najib, which he alleged belonged to 1MDB, FMT reported.
He said Najib had on a few occasions publicly denied that the money belonged to 1MDB and instead declared that it had come from an Arab donor.
“In truth, the monies came from a company called Tanore Corporation Finance which is controlled by Low Taek Jho or Jho Low,” Khairuddin was quoted as saying.
According to Khairuddin, Zahid publicly as well as in the Dewan Rakyat had declared that he had met the donor or donors of the US$681 million.
He said both had violated the solemn oath of office they had taken by making false statements, and that this was in breach of the trust placed on them by Malaysian citizens.
He wants a declaration that Najib and Zahid are unfit to hold any position in the cabinet for misleading the public that RM2.6 billion in Najib’s account had come from an Arab donor.
Defence over Suit by PI Bala’s Widow
In a separate case, Najib, his wife and seven others were ordered to file their defence in response to a suit filed by the widow of private investigator P Balasubramaniam.
The order was made by Justice Hue Siew Kheng after she dismissed their applications to stay the filing of their defence pending the outcome of a striking-out suit.
Balasubramaniam’s widow A Santamil Selvi, who is also acting for the estate of her late husband and their three childeren, filed the action for suffering intentional harm as a result of their exile in India following a statutory declaration made by Balasubramaniam in relation to the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Najib and the other defendants wanted to strike out the suit and, pending a decision on their application to annul the suit, they had wanted to stay the filing of defence.
Santamil’s counsel Gopal Sri Ram said Justice Hue dismissed the application on grounds that there were no special circumstances shown to warrant the stay.
He said this to reporters after the parties met Justice Hue in chambers.
All the defendants will have to file their defence on or before Oct 25. On Nov 1, the date of the hearing for the striking out the application would be fixed.
In the statement of claim, the plaintiffs named Najib, Rosmah Mansor, Najib’s brothers Ahmad Johari and Mohd Nazim, lawyers Cecil Abraham, Sunil Abraham and Arunampalam Mariampillai, commissioner for oaths Zainal Abidin Muhayat, and carpet seller Deepak Jaikishan as the defendants.
Lawyer Americk Sidhu, who appeared with Sri Ram, said businessman Deepak Jaikishan had written to the judge to inform her that he would appear in person to contest the suit.
“Deepak has withdrawn his application to strike out the suit,” he said.