Dismissal of lawsuit against Najib a ‘New Year gift’ for Umno, lawyer says (VIDEO)

On August 28, Anina Saaduddin (centre) filed a lawsuit against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Kuala Lumpur High Court. — Picture by Choo Choy May
On August 28, Anina Saaduddin (centre) filed a lawsuit against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Kuala Lumpur High Court. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — Umno lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun hailed the High Court’s decision today to bin a lawsuit against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for a share of the RM2.6 billion political donation, calling it a good “gift” for the ruling party to usher in 2016.

He added that the ruling was a victory for Najib who is also Umno president, and capped the latter’s success during the party’s annual meet earlier this month in which he received strong backing from members over criticisms against his leadership.

“The way I look at it, this is actually a good New Year gift for Umno, we just completed our Umno General Assembly, where the president came out strongly to all his critics and dissidents.

“He has closed ranks and showed that he has the support and with this decision, I hope it will put to rest any attempt to bring Umno into scandal and public odium,” he told reporters here, just hours before the year ends.

Noting that the coming year is expected to be worse economically, Mohd Hafarizam also expressed hope that the public would focus on nation-building activities next year instead of “gutter politics and mudslinging”.

Earlier this afternoon, the Kuala Lumpur High Court allowed Najib and Umno executive secretary Datuk Ab Rauf Yusoh’s application to strike out the lawsuit filed by sacked party member Anina Saadudin.

Fresh after her latest setback in the courts, Anina expressed her determination to continue her legal battles against Najib.

“I will not stop here. We will carry on to the next level,” she told reporters.

Her lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said his client respect’s today’s court ruling, but will file an appeal against it at the appellate court in early 2016.

“But there are avenues in the law, it can be taken all the way up to the Court of Appeal and thereafter if necessary, so my client is heartened to take it all the way, as far as she has to in order to carry out what she believes is the right cause,” he said.

On August 28, Anina, a former grassroots leader under the Langkawi Umno division, filed a lawsuit against Najib at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, seeking to claim a US$650 million portion of the US$681 million said to have been donated by a friendly Middle Eastern nation to help the Malay ruling party in its 2013 election campaign.

Anina had also applied in September for an injunction to freeze Najib’s assets up to a value of US$650 million, and asked the court to order the prime minister to fully declare all his local and foreign assets, held either by himself or others in trust.

The former Langkawi Umno member had also sought for the court to order — via a judgment without the need to go for trial — for the full details of the transactions involving the RM2.6 billion donation since it entered Najib’s account until the present.

Anina was sacked from Umno by party secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor several days after her August 28 lawsuit.

The High Court recently struck out Anina’s separate lawsuit on September 11 against Tengku Adnan and Umno executive secretary Datuk Ab Rauf Yusoh, where she had sought a declaration that the termination of her party membership is invalid, but she has filed an appeal.

Najib has denied taking public funds for personal gains and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is still probing the RM2.6 billion political “donation” said to be from an unnamed Middle Eastern source.

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