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Court dismisses Tony Pua’s abuse of public office suit against Najib

 | October 13, 2017

Pua, as a taxpayer, lacks the legal standing to bring the action against 1MDB, while Najib is not a public officer, says judicial commissioner Faizah Jamaludin.

Tony-PuaKUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has struck out a suit for misfeasance in public office over the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) affair filed by Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua against Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Judicial commissioner Faizah Jamaludin said Pua lacked the legal capacity as taxpayer to file the suit against the company whose majority shareholder was the finance ministry.

“As taxpayer his action is highly speculative and too remote,” she added.

She said the DAP publicity chief also had no cause of action.

“To allow this suit to proceed for the above reasons is unsustainable and will amount to abuse of the court process,” she said in allowing the applications by Najib and the government to annul the suit.

Faizah said Pua had also been unable to show the act done by Najib as chairman of the 1MDB advisory board was to injure him, or that the prime minister was reckless or indifferent.

Faizah said Najib was not a public officer in his capacity as Prime Minister, Finance Minister and MP for Pekan as these offices were excluded from public service under the Interpretation Act.

“I am also bound by the principle of binding precedent as decided by the Court of Appeal on this matter,” she said.

Najib’s grounds for the striking out application are based on the contention that he is not a public official, and that Pua had filed the suit for political purposes.

On Jan 16, Pua filed the suit against the prime minister for abuse of his public office over 1MBD funds.

Pua wants a declaration that Najib had committed the tort of misfeasance in public office and had abused his office to personally profit from the funds.

In his statement of claim, Pua explained why 1MDB was set up, the numerous transactions that took place in relation to the issuance of two bonds and how part of the funds were allegedly transferred to Najib’s private accounts.

He also narrated the three phases where the money was transferred into the prime minister’s accounts between 2011 and 2013.

Pua said as finance minister and chairman of the advisory board, Najib had a role in the decision-making process over the sovereign wealth fund.

Pua said his public statements against Najib on 1MDB had been construed as defamatory and that he (Pua) had been labelled as a detriment to parliamentary democracy.

Pua said the Malaysian government was also vicariously liable for Najib’s action in his capacity as a public servant.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing and in January 2016, the attorney-general cleared him of any offence.

 


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