PETALING JAYA: A group of 10 voters have failed in their bid to sue Gombak MP Azmin Ali for alleged breach of fiduciary duties after the Federal Court dismissed their application for leave to appeal.
The apex court found that the group had failed to raise questions of law which were of public importance to justify permission to appeal the lower court’s decision.
The voters claimed that Azmin stood for the 2018 general election to oust Barisan Nasional (BN) but later reneged on his promises by bringing about the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, which he was part of, and joining Perikatan Nasional (PN) in 2020.
In an unanimous verdict, Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed said the questions put forward in seeking leave to appeal did not fulfil Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.
“We are not persuaded that the proposed questions fulfilled the threshold, and hence dismiss (the application). In view that this is a public interest case, we make no orders as to costs,” he said in an online hearing.
Justices Vernon Ong and Rhodzariah Bujang also sat with Azahar in the apex court.
Azmin originally applied to the High Court to strike out the voters’ suit against him. That application was dismissed by judge Akhtar Tahir on June 30 last year.
Akhtar said a full trial was the only way to determine whether the Gombak MP “made false representations” to garner support from voters.
However, on April 13, the Court of Appeal said the High Court had made an appealable error and struck out the suit.
In their statement of claim, the applicants said Azmin had made representations that he was standing in the 2018 polls to oust BN and “free Malaysia of corrupt officials”.
They also claimed Azmin told his constituents to “vote for PKR to ensure a competent and stable government”.
However, they said Azmin himself caused the collapse of the PH government in 2020. He then joined the PN administration, which also included individuals from BN as well as other persons he himself had previously said were “credibly accused of corrupt practices”.
In the proceedings this morning, the applicants’ lawyer, K Shanmuga, said the case was not merely premised on a breach of manifesto. He said Azmin had also breached personal commitments he made to voters.
“We are asking if an MP who makes (certain) promises and representations could then go on to deceive voters and do something that he did not promise. In a nutshell, (can he) reject party A (only to) later embrace (it) after the elections?” he said.
Shanmuga rejected Azmin’s claim that there was no way to establish whether the applicants had voted for him since all ballot papers were destroyed. That did not hold water as all votes were secret under the law, he said.
He said it was possible to ascertain who the applicants voted for through evidence at trial.
Azmin’s lawyer, Nizamuddin Hamid, said his client did not make any personal representation or promise to voters but merely reiterated the promises already laid out in the PH manifesto.
He also said most of the claims made were questions of law which have been decided before.
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