PUTRAJAYA, Oct 6 — The Court of Appeal has allowed a final adjournment of the appeal hearing involving the National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp) and four others over their breach of contract suit against a commercial bank.

Justice Datuk Azizah Nawawi, who led a three-member panel of judges, however, ordered NFCorp, its executive chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail and three subsidiaries, namely National Meat & Livestock Corporation Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd and Real Food Company Sdn Bhd, to pay RM5,000 in costs to Public Bank Berhad.

She granted the adjournment after the court was informed that lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who is representing NFCorp and the four others, was unwell.

“In view of the medical certificate tendered by Muhammad Shafee, the case is adjourned to another date. Parties to go for case management to fix a new hearing date.

“This shall be the final adjournment for this appeal,” said Justice Azizah, who presided with Justices Lee Heng Cheong and Datuk Hashim Hamzah.

The court was supposed to hear the appeal brought by NFCorp and the four others against the High Court’s July 29, 2019 dismissal of their suit against Public Bank for alleged breach of contract to protect their bank account confidentiality.

In the court proceedings conducted online today, Sarah Malini Abishegam, the counsel for NFCorp and the four others, requested the court to give a short adjournment, saying that Muhammad Shafee is having fever, cough and sore throat and loss of voice.

“We apologise. We are faced with no other choice as he (Muhammad Shafee) is the only one authorised to conduct the matter,” she said.

She said it would be the seventh adjournment, but said most of the adjournments of the appeal hearing were due to Covid-19 reasons and the movement control order (MCO).

The bank’s counsel, Yoong Sin Min, told the court that the appeal was filed in August 2019 and since then parties in the appeal had gone through six case managements as six hearing dates had been adjourned.

“In all circumstances I would not object (to the adjournment) but in view that it is the seventh hearing date, it is difficult for me to tell my client why the case keeps postponing,” she said, adding that she is seeking costs of RM10,000.

Yoong said the previous adjournments sought were due to Muhammad Shafee being engaged in two other court cases as well as representing Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his ongoing court cases. The other adjournments were because Muhammad Shafee had to go to the United States, on Covid reason and also the records of appeal were not in order.

She said she was informed only this morning of Muhammad Shafee’s inability to attend today’s court proceedings. She requested that this be the final adjournment of the appeal hearing.

NFCorp, Mohamad Salleh and the three subsidiary companies sued Public Bank on May 22, 2012, claiming that their business reputation and credibility had suffered irreparable loss and damage as a result of the security breach of the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 (Bafia) by the bank.

They also alleged that their leaked bank account information was used by PKR deputy president Mohd Rafizi Ramli to bolster allegations that they had leveraged a government loan to buy eight KL Eco City properties. — Bernama