Lawyer: Azmin Ali to ask court to strike out Gombak voters’ ‘Sheraton Move’ lawsuit against him

Datuk Seri Azmin Ali is pictured at Hilton Kuala Lumpur for a meeting with Perikatan Nasional leaders November 1, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Azmin Ali is pictured at Hilton Kuala Lumpur for a meeting with Perikatan Nasional leaders November 1, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — Gombak MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali is set to apply to the High Court to throw out a lawsuit filed against him by 10 Gombak voters over his alleged role in the “Sheraton Move” plan, his lawyer confirmed today.

Azmin’s lawyer Nizamuddin Hamid said that the lawsuit came up for case management today at the High Court, adding that Azmin’s lawyers had told the court about the Gombak voters’ alleged failure to serve the lawsuit papers on him.

Nizamuddin said Azmin’s lawyers had highlighted to the court the alleged “misrepresentation” previously by the Gombak voters’ lawyers that the lawsuit papers had been served on Azmin and of Azmin’s alleged failure to show up in court for case management.

Nizamuddin argued that documents filed in court showed that the court papers were not personally served on Azmin or to any person authorised by him to accept the papers on his behalf.

“The court has taken notice of this.

“We will be filing our application to strike out the action accordingly as well before the next case management date which is set on February 16, 2021,” Nizamuddin told Malay Mail when contacted.

Nizamuddin however said that the application that Azmin will be filing to strike out the lawsuit is “not related to the service issue”.

“It’s because we believe that there’s no reasonable cause of action, the action is frivolous and it’s an abuse of the court process,” he said of the reason for Azmin’s planned striking out application to be filed before February 16.

The Gombak voters’ lawyer Yohendra Nadarajan was previously reported as saying the lawsuit had been served on Azmin on December 1, 2020, and that Azmin or his lawyers had failed to appear in court on December 28.

Previously, on December 30, Nizamuddin had claimed Azmin did not personally receive court papers to notify him of the lawsuit filed by the 10 Gombak voters, and that this meant that the court papers could not have been said to have been served on Azmin.

In response to Nizamuddin’s December 30 statement, Yohendra had on the same day told Malay Mail that that the court papers for the lawsuit were properly served by the Gombak voters as required and in line with the rules, saying that the issue of service has however became moot or academic since Azmin had already appointed lawyers for the lawsuit.

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.

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