Gombak voters sue Azmin Ali over ‘Sheraton Move’ role, for allegedly deceiving them for GE14 votes

In their lawsuit, the 10 Gombak voters claimed that Azmin had made false representations and had allegedly deceived them while campaigning in the 14th general election  in order to gain their votes. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
In their lawsuit, the 10 Gombak voters claimed that Azmin had made false representations and had allegedly deceived them while campaigning in the 14th general election in order to gain their votes. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — A total of 10 Gombak voters have come together to file a lawsuit against their MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali over his alleged role in the “Sheraton Move” plan which caused the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to collapse in February.

In their lawsuit, the 10 Gombak voters claimed that Azmin had made false representations and had allegedly deceived them while campaigning in the 14th general election (GE14) in order to gain their votes, and that he had subsequently breached his fiduciary obligations and duties towards them after they had entrusted him to be their elected representative.

When contacted, lawyer Yohendra Nadarajan confirmed that the 10 Gombak voters had filed the lawsuit last Friday at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

The 10 Gombak voters who filed the lawsuit are Affandy Abd Raof Faiz, Balasuntharam Balakrishnan, Fatimah Begum Abu Bakar, Koo Kim Seng, Mazidah Mohd Noor, Md Yusof Ismail, Muhammad Safwan Md Anuar, Prasath Ramasamy, Ramaksihnan Suppan and Subasini Muniady.

According to their statement of claim, the Gombak voters are seeking various court orders, including a declaration that Azmin as an MP owes a fiduciary duty or is a trustee due to his relationship with the Gombak voters, as well as declarations that he has breached his representations to Gombak voters and that he has breached his fiduciary obligations and duties owed to the 10 voters.

They are also seeking court declarations that Azmin had committed the tort of deceit against the 10 voters, and that Azmin had breached his constitutional oath under the Federal Constitution’s Article 59(1) read together with the constitution’s sixth schedule by breaching the representations, as well as for compensation to be paid.

Under the constitutional oath, MPs swear to faithfully discharge their duties to the best of their abilities, and to preserve, protect and defend the Federal Constitution.

In recounting the events that led to the lawsuit, the 10 voters noted that Azmin was a co-founder of PKR in 1998, and that he had campaigned in the GE14 for votes while contesting for the Gombak parliamentary seat and the Bukit Antarabangsa state seat based on his membership in PKR and the larger PH coalition that PKR was part of.

The 10 voters gave examples of Azmin’s main representation in the GE14 campaign of having PH replace Barisan Nasional (BN) as the federal government, noting that he had represented his reason for such a campaign as being due to the alleged wrongdoings by leaders from BN and Umno and that he had represented that he would together with PH ensure the wrongdoings are addressed.

Other representations cited by the 10 Gombak voters were of Azmin representing that he would remain as a PKR and PH member to ensure the fulfilment of promises in PH’s manifesto if it forms federal government, and that the PH leadership would lead on the basis of integrity and accountability.

The 10 voters said the representations were made by Azmin knowingly in order to induce them to cast their votes for him as PKR’s candidate in GE14, noting that he later won both the Gombak and Bukit Antarabangsa seats.

The voters said reforms initiated under the PH rule however became stalled or were back tracked after Azmin allegedly “orchestrated or took part in the change of government as a result of the Sheraton move”, noting that he had led a faction of PKR MPs in attending a February 23, 2020 gathering at the Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya together with MPs from PH’s political foes BN and PAS.

The next day, the PH government collapsed as Azmin’s faction and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia pulled out of the coalition, with Azmin also sacked from PKR over his actions.

Under the new Perikatan Nasional government formed together with BN and PAS MPs, Azmin is now a minister of international trade and industry, as well as a senior minister and what the 10 voters described as the “de facto deputy prime minister”.

The 10 voters then went on to provide details of Azmin’s alleged wrongs, saying that he cannot act in his own personal interests as the elected representative of Gombak voters, while also stressing that he had breached his duties as a trustee of the voters by acting against his representations to the voters, including by “orchestrating, participating or otherwise being involved in the Sheraton move” and working with BN to topple the PH government.

Alternatively, the 10 voters claimed that Azmin had allegedly committed deceit, by making the representations to them only to get their votes and deceiving voters to support him to enable him to be elected to Parliament and to have an opportunity to be a member of the government.

Alternatively, the 10 voters claimed that Azmin is ‘estopped’ or barred by the legal doctrine of estoppel from continuing to act as an MP and state assemblyman, due to his alleged wrongs and alleged deceitful conduct in breach of duties to the Gombak voters.

Claiming that Azmin had breached his constitutional oath which includes the oath for MPs to preserve and protect the Federal Constitution, the 10 voters further claimed that Azmin’s breach of his representations during the GE14 campaign had breached the 10 voters’ constitutional rights and caused them to suffered losses in relation to their constitutional rights.

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