Putrajaya files objection to ex-youth chief’s suit

KhatriKUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya is objecting to a suit filed by a former youth leader who wants the Auditor-General’s report on 1MDB to be declassified.

Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan said ex-PKR deputy Youth Chief Zahid Md Arip lacked the legal standing to initiate the suit against Prime Minister Najib Razak and Auditor-General (A-G) Ambrin Buang.

“We filed a preliminary objection recently and the court has ordered us to make a written submission to support our argument,” he told reporters after a closed-door case management before judge Hanipah Farikullah today.

Zahid’s lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdullah confirmed the government’s objection and would also submit a rebuttal to the application.

Haniff said the court fixed Jan 11 to hear oral clarification from all parties, including a similar suit filed by Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali

He, however, said both cases would be heard separately although fixed on the same day, adding that arguments in both cases would touch on the issue of constitutionality and legality.

“My client will further raise the issue of morality as Najib had promised to make the report public but decided not to do so later,” Haniff said.

Zahid had earlier said that Najib and Ambrin could not hide behind the Official Secrets Act (OSA) in refusing to make public the A-G’s report.

“Classifying it under OSA is a breach of the law,” he said in the application for the judicial review.

He said the audit report should be presented to the Agong when it was completed.

Zahid stressed there was a conflict of interest in classifying the audit report as a government secret as the prime minister was alleged to be involved in the scandal.

Azmin, who is also Gombak MP, filed his judicial review citing Ambrin’s testimony during Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli’s trial under the OSA that the A-G did it on the instruction of Najib.

Azmin, however, said there was a conflict of interest on Najib’s part due to the latter’s role as 1MDB adviser.