Court throws out PKR's election overspending lawsuit against Najib over RM2.6b

The High Court has ordered PKR to pay a total of RM15,000 each to Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic)and BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, and RM10,000 each to the two others sued.― File pic
The High Court has ordered PKR to pay a total of RM15,000 each to Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic)and BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, and RM10,000 each to the two others sued.― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 ― The High Court today dismissed PKR’s lawsuit against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Barisan Nasional over the purported illegalities related to a RM2.6 billion fund and alleged overspending in the 13th general elections.

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab also allowed 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the Election Commission (EC)’s application to strike out the lawsuit.

He ordered PKR to pay a total of RM50,000 in costs — RM15,000 each to Najib and BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, and RM10,000 each to the two others sued.

When delivering his judgment, Mohd Zaki said that PKR has no legal standing to sue Najib as the political party did not file the lawsuit through its public officer or office-holder as legally required.

Despite acknowledging that the five opposition politicians who were also suing Najib have the legal standing to do so, the judge said the civil court has no jurisdiction or powers to grant them the orders they seek to declare that the prime minister had breached criminal laws.

As for BN’s application through Tengku Adnan to strike out the lawsuit, Mohd Zaki said the civil court has no power under the Societies Act to declare the deregistration of a party due to its criminal activities — an order which PKR had sought.

Mohd Zaki agreed with 1MDB that PKR’s lawsuit was based on hearsay, noting that the latter had relied on reports by media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Edge and Sarawak Report to back claims that the state-owned firm channelled RM2.6 billion to Najib.

He also found that PKR’s claim that 1MDB was involved in a tort of conspiracy was too simple and did not have elaborated arguments.

“In such circumstances, I find the pleading has low chances to be sustained and is an abuse of process,” he said when allowing 1MDB’s striking out application with costs.

In agreement with the EC’s lawyers, the judge said that the civil court has no power to declare the 13th general election results invalid.

“I find that only the election courts have the powers to make that declaration based on Article 118 of the Federal Constitution. This court has no jurisdiction to make such declarations,” the judge said.

When met outside the court, PKR leader Nurul Izzah Anwar said the six plaintiffs will have one month to consider whether to file an appeal against today’s decision.

Last August, PKR jointly filed the lawsuit with five others ― PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, former PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, PKR vice-presidents Nurul Izzah Anwar and Chua Tian Chang.

PKR had sought to nullify the results of the 13th general election through this lawsuit.

Under Section 19 of the Election Offences Act 1954 Act, candidates are permitted to spend no more than RM200,000 when contesting a federal seat and RM100,000 for state constituencies.

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