PM, 1MDB get stay of high court order to file defence in lawsuit

-A +A

PUTRAJAYA (Feb 5): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) obtained a stay of a High Court decision ordering them to file their defence in a civil lawsuit with regard to 1MDB's settlement with the International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).

A Court of Appeal three-man bench, comprising Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi and Datuk Kamardin Hashim, unanimously allowed the stay application by Najib and 1MDB pending disposal of their appeal at the appellate court.

Najib, 1MDB and the Government of Malaysia have filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal against the High Court dismissal of their application to strike out the lawsuit filed against them by 10 Gerakan Anak Muda Tolak Najib (GANT1) members. The matter is fixed for case management on Feb 13.

In granting the stay order, Justice Mohd Zawawi, who led the bench, said the court was of the opinion that if the stay was refused, it would be a waste of judicial time in the event the appellate court ruled in favour of the applicants (Najib and 1MDB) in the striking-out matter.

On July 11 last year, GANT1, headed by Parti Amanah Negara Youth deputy chief Muhammad Faiz Fadzil and nine other individuals filed the lawsuit against Najib, 1MDB and the Government of Malaysia.

The lawsuit was over a consent award at the London Court of International Arbitration entered by 1MDB with IPIC concerning 1MDB's alleged US$3.5 billion bond assistance from IPIC and its subsidiary Aabar Investment PJS (Aabar Asli) for the purchase of an energy plant.

In their statement of claim, the GANT1 members claimed that IPIC and Aabar Asli, on June 14, 2016, brought their case to the London Court of International Arbitration against 1MDB and the government relating to a US$6.5 billion claim for 1MDB’s failure to honour the contract.

The GANT1 members are seeking, among others, a declaration that the settlement agreement and consent award signed in London were null and void.

On Jan 9 this year, the High Court had dismissed applications by Najib, 1MDB and the Government of Malaysia to strike out the suit.

After the court's decision, Datuk Wira Hafarizam Harun, representing Najib, said the deadline for his client to file his statement of defence was this Friday but since a stay was given they need not file the defence.

Lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan represented 1MDB while counsel Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla represented the GANT1 members.