Court says Pua has no standing to sue Najib over 1MDB

The High Court said DAP MP Tony Pua (pic) lacked legal standing to pursue the action against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. — Picture by Choo Choy May
The High Court said DAP MP Tony Pua (pic) lacked legal standing to pursue the action against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Malaysian government today succeeded in their application to strike out a suit filed by Petaling Jaya Utara Member of Parliament Tony Pua Kiam Wee for misfeasance in handling of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Datin Faizah Jamaludin allowed the applications by Najib and the government after ruling that Pua had no locus standi to file the action against them.

Faizah in her judgment said the court found that the plaintiff (Pua) had not established on the face of his pleadings that he has sufficient legal rights or interest to bring a claim against Najib for the tort of misfeasance in public office.

“Monies used by the Minister of Finance Inc to subscribe to the shares of 1MDB does not in itself amount to dissipation or misappropriation of tax payers’ monies.

“This is especially so given that 1MDB is a Ministry of Finance owned company and shareholders subscribing for shares, is in the normal course of business,” she said.

Faizah said Pua’s claim that his taxpayers’ monies will be used in the future to honour the various guarantees and assurances given by the Government for the 1MDB bonds was not supported by his pleadings and was too remote in law according him any legal rights or cause of action.

“There is no cause of action for loss of reputation under the tort of misfeasance in public office,” she said.

Faizah said the court was of the view  that the plaintiff as a tax payer would not be able to establish the necessary causal link that he suffered the loss and damages claimed or that the prime minister’s acts caused those losses.

She said that the court was also bound by the Court of Appeal’s decision  which ruled that the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister could not be sued as they are not public officer.

“Based on the above, the court finds that the plaintiff does not have a reasonable cause of action in the tort of misfeasance in public office against the Prime Minister. Accordingly, the plaintiff’s action against Najib is obviously unsustainable,” she said.

The court also ordered Pua to pay cost, amounting to RM10,000 to Najib and the government.

Najib is represented by lawyers Tan Sri Cecil Abraham and Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, while senior federal counsel Alice Loke acted on behalf of the government.

Pua, who was present at today’s proceeding, was represented by lawyer Gobind Singh Deo.

Najib filed the application to strike out the suit by Pua last Feb 14 on grounds that he is not a public official and claimed that Pua had abused the court process, while the government filed the application last March 2 on grounds that Pua had no locus standi to do so.

Pua filed the suit against Najib and the government on Jan 16 this year for misfeasance in public office over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue and had sought general, aggravated and exemplary damages, interest, cost and other relief deemed fit by the court. ― Bernama

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