PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has adjourned Damansara MP Tony Pua’s appeal against an interim injunction obtained by former prime minister Najib Razak regarding a video on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
This is to allow the Court of Appeal to first make a ruling on another appeal by Pua after the High Court last year allowed Najib to withdraw his suit over the tabling of the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill or RUU355. This appeal has been fixed before the Court of Appeal on April 4.
“We adjourn the case pending the disposal of the Court of Appeal matter,” said Ahmad Maarop who chaired a seven-member bench which was scheduled to hear the case regarded as of public interest.
Ahmad then fixed April 5 for case management of the injunction appeal.
Earlier, lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun submitted before the bench that the appeal on the interim injunction was academic as Najib had decided not to proceed with his suit against Pua.
“Any decision by this bench will not have any bearing in the case since the suit has been withdrawn,” he said.
However, lawyer Malik Imtiaz, who is representing Pua, said the appeal (before the Federal Court) would be a live issue if the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of his client.
He said the appeal here came about because the former attorney-general and the ex-Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief had exonerated Najib of criminal wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.
Najib, who was ousted from power, has been charged with 42 counts of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering relating to SRC International and 1MDB.
On July 30 last year, judge Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab allowed Najib to withdraw his suit against Pua over the tabling of RUU355. Zaki said the withdrawal did not prejudice Pua as Najib had given an undertaking that he would not file a fresh suit.
Pua’s counsel at the High Court, Tan Cheng Leong, had objected on grounds it would prejudice his client as there was no avenue for him to justify his statement over the bill.
On April 21, 2017, Najib had filed a defamation suit against Pua for making disparaging remarks in a video relating to the tabling of a private member’s bill to amend RUU355.
Najib claimed the two-minute, 21-second video clip uploaded on Pua’s Facebook page entitled “BN Govt abandons all Bills to give precedence to PAS’ RUU355 Private Member’s Bill” could be accessed widely and freely on the internet.
He also claimed the video contained words referring specifically to him and implying that he had abused his power by giving orders through the Cabinet to the Dewan Rakyat speaker to give way to Marang MP Abdul Hadi Awang to propose the bill.
In his video, Pua had said that the tabling of the bill was a charade to divert attention from the 1MDB fiasco and the RM2.6 billion found in Najib’s private account.
Last Aug 4, Zaki dismissed Pua’s application for the video to remain on his Facebook page to be viewed by the public pending the outcome of Najib’s defamation suit.
The Court of Appeal upheld Zaki’s ruling on the grounds that all investigation agencies and the Attorney-General’s Chambers had cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing.
Last June 20, the Federal Court allowed Pua’s leave application to appeal against the interim injunction obtained by Najib.
The bench allowed four legal questions framed by Pua which would be argued on a date to be fixed.