Court dismisses Mahathir’s review application to recuse ex-CJ

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former chief justice Raus Sharif.

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today dismissed Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s review application to disqualify former chief justice Raus Sharif from hearing a civil dispute involving ex-prime minister Najib Razak.

Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed who chaired a three-member bench said the review application did not meet the requirements under Rule 137 of the Federal Court Rules 1995.

He added that a case of bias by Raus had not been made.

“There was no miscarriage of justice,” he said.

Others on the bench were Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Hasnah Mohammed Hashim.

The court also awarded Najib RM30,000 in costs.

Najib was represented by Mohd Hafarizam Harun while Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdullah appeared for Mahathir and former Umno leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan.

Mahathir and Khairuddin made the application to recuse Raus from hearing a leave to appeal application that Najib could not be sued for alleged misfeasance in public office related to the 1MDB case.

Mahathir’s appeal to restore his judicial review application to challenge the appointment of Raus and then-Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin was also dismissed on Feb 25 last year.

The challenge was mounted as Raus and Zulkefli had remained in their administrative positions as additional judges despite the constitutional requirement to retire at the age of 66.

On Feb 27, 2018, a three-man bench chaired by Raus refused leave to Mahathir and Khairuddin who had sought to overturn the Court of Appeal ruling.

The appellate court affirmed a High Court decision that Najib could not be sued for abusing his office as prime minister as he was not a public officer.

However, on Nov 19 last year, the Federal Court in a landmark ruling said Najib was a public officer and could be sued for allegedly abusing his power while in office.

Judge Nallini Pathmanathan said the suit brought against Najib by Damansara MP Tony Pua over 1MDB appeared to contain the necessary elements to constitute a valid claim.

“Whether or not he will succeed at trial is a question of evidence, particularly in relation to the alleged damage he suffered,” she added.

The apex court then sent Pua’s suit for hearing before a High Court where it is now pending.

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