Allegations against 1MDB and PM politically motivated, says lawyer

Allegations against 1MDB and PM politically motivated, says lawyer
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak.
PHOTO: Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR - Allegations of a conspiracy between 1MDB and the Prime Minister came about because the five PKR leaders who filed the suit against them had a political motive, the High Court heard.

"It is calculated to interfere with the ongoing investigations by the Public Accounts Committee, the Auditor-General, Bank Negara and the police," said Datuk Tan Hock Chuan, who appeared for 1MDB.

PKR and five other politicians are suing Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for alleged breach of election laws following an expose by The Wall Street Journal that RM2.6bil (S$8.5bil) was deposited into his personal accounts.

The plantiffs in the Aug 12 suit are Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, former PAS MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, PKR election director Datuk Saifuddin Nasution, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar and Batu MP Tian Chua.

The defendants are Najib, Barisan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, 1MDB and the Election Commission.

In applying to strike out the civil suit, Tan said that two statements issued by the Malaysian Anti-Corru­ption Commission Act in August had made it clear that the sum involved was from a donor and not 1MDB.

Furthermore, he said the suit was solely based on newspaper reports with no reasonable prospect to succeed if a trial was allowed.

Najib's lead counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun said a civil court had no jurisdiction to grant a declaration to the plaintiffs that the Prime Minister has acted corruptly in accepting the RM2.6bil in his personal accounts.

Mohd Hafarizam, who also acted for Barisan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, submitted that only the Attorney-General is vested with the power to initiate criminal proceedings.

He also argued that the plaintiffs especially Nurul Izzah had relied on online and newspaper reports about 1MDB, which was hearsay.

Senior Federal Counsel Amarjeet Singh, who appeared for EC, argued that the civil court had no jurisdiction to hear election disputes.

The suit violates Article 118 of the Federal Constitution which states that such matters be dealt through election petitions, he said.

The plaintiffs are seeking an order to deregister Barisan Nasional for reason of corrupt practices.

They want a declaration that 1MDB illegally paid RM2.7bil of its monies to the Prime Minister.

The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that Najib, Tengku Adnan, 1MDB and the EC acted individually or conspired with each other to defraud the electorate in the last general election.

They want a declaration that the results of the polls were invalid.

Alternatively, they want an order for a fresh election of all 222 parliamentary seats.

Tommy Thomas, who is the plaintiffs' lead counsel, said it was not a plain and obvious case to strike out the suit as it was "far more complex and required a trial".

"There are enough complaints in this claim which must be investigated and a consequential order to be ordered by the court," he said, adding that they do not need consent from the Attorney-General as they are not seeking an inquiry related to a charitable trust.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab set Jan 21 for decision.

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