Azmin Ali’s lawyer: Gombak voters’ lawsuit yet to be personally served to him; no efforts to do so at his home, office or ministry

Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali's lawyer said the court papers could not be said to have been served on Azmin, as it was not given personally to him. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali's lawyer said the court papers could not be said to have been served on Azmin, as it was not given personally to him. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — Gombak MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali has yet to personally receive court papers to notify him of a lawsuit filed against him by 10 constituents, his lawyer said today.

Nizamuddin Hamid who represents Azmin, also claimed lawyers for the Gombak voters did not try to personally serve notice of the lawsuit to his client, contrary to what had been reported previously.

“This claim is completely untrue and inherently misleading,” Nizamuddin said in a statement.

He was responding to remarks by the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Yohendra Nadarajan, who was previously reported saying the lawsuit had been served on Azmin on December 1, and that Azmin or his lawyers had failed to appear in court on December 28.

Nizamuddin said the court papers could not be said to have been served on Azmin, as it was not given personally to him.

“The suit was served on a person at Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali’s service centre. As such, it is bad service and is in blatant contravention of the rules of court.

“A writ of summons must be served by the procedures set out in the rules of court. This is a common practice, and we are shocked that he saw fit to announce that the suit had been served upon Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali on December 1,” he said.

“Furthermore, there has not been any effort to personally serve the suit upon Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali at his home or office at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry,” he said, adding that the Gombak voters’ lawyer also did not write to Azmin to seek for an appointment to serve the court papers.

Nizamuddin went on to say that Azmin respects the judicial system and would have appeared promptly if the Gombak voters had served the lawsuit according to the applicable procedures provided under the law.

When contacted today, Yohendra told Malay Mail that he was surprised by the tone and content of the press release by Azmin’s lawyers, saying that the court papers for the lawsuit were properly served as required.

“Service was effected by us according to the rules. The press found out about the filing of the suit, and which was also reported widely in the press.

“Yet, at no time did Datuk Seri Azmin or his lawyers contact us to obtain a copy of the suit.

“Be that as it may, now that Datuk Seri Azmin has appointed lawyers, the issue of service is moot,” he told Malay Mail.

On November 27, the 10 Gombak voters filed a lawsuit at the High Court here against Azmin, over his alleged role of “orchestrating, participating or otherwise being involved 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.

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.

The 10 voters had also as an alternative 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.

According to news reports, the lawsuit will come up for case management on January 14, 2021.

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