KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has fixed a November hearing for an application by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to strike out Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s suit against him for alleged misfeasance in public office.
High Court Judicial Commissioner Abu Bakar Jais fixed the Nov 7 date in chambers in the presence of counsel Muhammad Rafique Rashid, who acting for Dr Mahathir and two others, and Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, who is acting for Najib.
Met by reporters later, Mohd Hafarizam said the court would hear the striking out application by his client first before hearing an application to freeze Najib’s assets.
“If the striking out application fails, the court will proceed to hear an application to freeze my client’s assets,” he said.
On another matter, Mohd Hafarizam said Dr Mahathir, former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chief Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and former Langkawi Wanita Umno member Anina Saadudin would not be appealing on the application by the plaintiffs to cross-examine his client.
He said to this, the court had directed the three plaintiffs to file an affidavit-in-reply pertaining to Najib’s application to strike out the suit against him and the plaintiffs were ordered to file by Sept 5, adding that Najib was instructed to reply by Sept 19.
Muhammad Rafique, meanwhile, confirmed that they would not file an appeal to cross-examine Najib.
On July 27, Dr Mahathir, Khairuddin and Anina failed to get leave to cross-examine Najib over his affidavit in their lawsuit against the Prime Minister.
In dismissing the application, Judicial Commissioner Abu Bakar held that there was no need for cross-examination of Najib at this stage.
“The cross-examination if allowed will mean the merits of the case will be cross-examined at this early stage on the interpretation of the words “public officer” and “public office” when this should only be addressed at the striking out stage and not now,” he said.
He said “cross-examination should only be addressed in the main trial itself if the striking out is not granted.”
“What good would the cross-examination do now as the plaintiffs would not in all probability abandon their challenge on the defendant’s credibility when the striking out is heard despite such cross-examination,” he said in his judgment.
In their application, they said Najib had affirmed an affidavit before commissioner of oath Chia Keng Hock on April 12 in his bid to apply to strike out the civil claim.
They contended that Najib had contradicted himself in his affidavit for the striking out of the suit on his position as the prime minister by saying he is not a public officer but at the same time asserting that they attempt to drive him from public office.
In the lawsuit filed in March, Dr Mahathir and two others sought for the High Court to order the Prime Minister to pay RM2.6bil in exemplary damages to the Government.
Dr Mahathir, Khairuddin and Anina also want Najib to pay RM42mil in aggravated damages to the Government.
In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs said Najib had carried out all the necessary acts to undermine, subvert and compromise the various institutions involved in the probe on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and related companies, so as to ensure that the findings and investigations on the allegations could not be properly, transparently and independently concluded.
They are also seeking to declare that Najib had committed misfeasance in public office and in breach of fiduciaries in public office by using his position as Prime Minister, chairman of Barisan Nasional and Umno president.