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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Najib strikes back, applies to quash Pua’s 1MDB suit

The prime minister says Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua's suit is for a political purpose.
najib-tonyphuaKUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak has filed an application to strike out a suit filed by Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua for misfeasance in public office over the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds.
Pua’s lawyer Joanne Chua Tsu Fae said Najib’s grounds for the application was that he was not a public official.
“The applicant is also claiming that Pua’s suit is a collateral attack for a political purpose,” she told reporters after a case management today before High Court judge John Louis O’Hara in his chambers.
Najib, represented by Nik Alia Hanafi, filed the application on Feb 14 and Chua said a copy was extended to her client today.
The court also allowed an application by Nik Alia that Najib be exempted from filing his defence until the striking out case was heard and disposed of.
Federal Counsel Zureen Elina Mohd Don, who appeared for the Malaysian government was given two weeks to file an application to strike out Pua’s suit.
John Louis has fixed another case management for March 7.
On Jan 16, Pua filed the suit against the prime minister for abuse of his public office over the 1MBD funds.
Pua, who is also DAP national publicity chief, 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.
Pua, who filed the suit in his capacity as taxpayer, is also seeking an unspecified amount of damages and relief deemed fit by the court.
Apart from Najib, Pua has also named the Malaysian government as the other defendant.
In his 50-page 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 1MDB 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) was labelled as a deteriment to parliamentary democracy.
He said this led to the authorities imposing a travel ban on him.
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, an official investigation ended, clearing him of any offence. -FMT

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