KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he is ready to face tycoon Tan Sri Halim Saad’s lawsuit in court as he has “nothing to hide”, but questioned the timing of the businessman’s court case against him.

Dr Mahathir said his lawyer told him that Halim had sued him, former minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and the government of Malaysia over his purported instructions in the past for the businessman to let go of United Engineers Malaysia (UEM) Bhd and Renong Berhad without any profits to Halim.

“Halim Saad also alleged that he did not agree with those instructions, but I had misused powers in 2001 to force him to let go. He claimed that UEM and Renong are his and I had set aside his constitutional rights. He wants to be paid compensation,” Dr Mahathir said in a statement today.

“I will answer this accusation in court through my lawyer. I have nothing to hide,” he added.


But Dr Mahathir also said Halim’s latest lawsuit was odd, as the latter had previously also tried to sue Nor Mohamed and Khazanah Nasional previously but had failed after the court threw out his case in 2013.

“I am also taken aback (hairan) by Halim Saad’s accusation. Why has he not taken action against me all this while, and suddenly decides to sue when the election is near?” Dr Mahathir said.

Halim had filed the lawsuit on August 2 at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, where he sought compensation for the financial losses he suffered in relation to the government’s takeover of UEM and Renong, as well as for the alleged breach of his constitutional rights as he claimed the government had not paid him adequate compensation over the matter.


Halim announced the lawsuit publicly on August 9, which was also when it came up for case management at the High Court. The lawsuit is scheduled for case management next on September 13.

In the lawsuit filed on Halim’s behalf by the law firm Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, the businessman is seeking for several court orders, including for the High Court to determine how much the government should pay him as compensation, and to declare that the 16 per cent or 372 million shares he held in Renong in the past was owned by him and not Umno Baru.

As for Halim’s previous separate lawsuit filed on April 17, 2013 against Nor Mohamed, the government and Khazanah, that lawsuit was struck out by the High Court in October 2013 as it was filed beyond the six-year limitation period, with the Court of Appeal in August 2014 and Federal Court in July 2015 rejecting his bids to revive or restore the lawsuit.

In court papers, Halim however argues that the lawsuit struck out in 2013 does not prevent him from filing his latest lawsuit earlier this month, saying that the struck out lawsuit was based on contractual issues while his latest lawsuit is instead based on the different issue of alleged breach of constitutional rights.

As part of the 2013 lawsuit, Halim had claimed he had met with Dr Mahathir on April 23, 2010, where Dr Mahathir had allegedly said that Nor Mohamed had told him that Halim’s Renong shares were in fact purportedly owned by Umno and that there would therefore be no reason for the government to compensate Halim for the losses following Khazanah Nasional’s takeover of control over both Renong and UEM.

In that 2013 lawsuit, Halim had also claimed that Dr Mahathir later arranged for him to meet with Nor Mohamed, where the latter allegedly told him that no further payments will be made to him.