Lawyer fails in RM12.5m summary judgment bid against Bersatu

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The High Court has turned down lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla’s bid to obtain a summary judgment on the recovery of RM12.5 million in unpaid legal fees from Bersatu and its office bearers.

Instead, judge Akhtar Tahir ordered the case to proceed for a full trial from March 18 to 24, 2024.

Haniff told reporters that the court, in its ruling today, allowed the office-bearers – namely president Muhyiddin Yassin, treasurer Salleh Bajuri and secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin – to ventilate their defences in the full hearing later.

FMT

“No determination of the claim has been made as yet,” he said.

The court also ordered Haniff to pay cost of RM3,000.

Haniff said he will be appealing against the dismissal of the summary judgment bid in due course.

A summary judgment is obtained when the court decides on a case, through written submissions, without a full trial or calling in witnesses.

Haniff, in his statement of claim, said the invoice for payment was issued to Muhyiddin, Hamzah and Salleh last year.

Apart from the trio, Bersatu is named as a defendant in the suit filed in July 2021 after all the defendants failed to respond to a reminder to pay up.

Haniff said the money was for legal services rendered before Bersatu was formed up to the point it pulled out of Pakatan Harapan (PH) in early 2020, before the setting up of Perikatan Nasional.

He said that before the 14th general election (GE14), he represented the party in a kleptocracy, corruption and abuse of power suit against then prime minister Najib Razak and his administration.

The statement said Haniff’s services came to an end on Feb 24, 2020 following the Sheraton Move, which led to the collapse of the PH government.

In their defence, Bersatu and the office-bearers want the lawyer’s suit to be dismissed as there was no agreement between them.

They said all services rendered by Haniff were voluntary and without expectation of payment.

They also contended the sum claimed is grossly excessive and unlawful.

Lawyer Nurul Huda Razali appeared for Haniff while Chetan Jethwani represented Bersatu. – FMT