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Mahathir, Khairuddin Fail To Get Leave To Appeal In Public Office Suit Against PM

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PUTRAJAYA – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan failed to obtain leave to appeal over their tort of misfeasance in public office lawsuit against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak pertaining to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The 92-year-old former prime minister and Khairuddin, 55, former Batu Kawan Umno vice-chief, had sought leave to appeal in their bid to reinstate their suit which was struck out by the High Court and the decision upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The Federal Court bench, comprising Chief Judge Tun Md Raus Sharif and Federal Court judges Datuk Sri Balia Yusof Wahi and Tan Sri Wira Aziah Ali, unanimously dismissed their appeal and ordered them to pay RM20,000 costs.

In his decision, Justice Md Raus, who chaired the bench, said the Federal Court agreed with the interpretation made by the High Court and Court of Appeal that Najib was not a public officer.

He said the matter involved the interpretation of the Federal Constitution and statutes on the meaning of “public officer” in that whether Najib is a public officer.

Najib cited the example of some 4,000 new jobs being created by Alliance Steel at the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, with a previous announcement that 70 per cent of them would be for Malaysian citizens.

In attendance were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian and MCBC chairman Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting.

“So let us be absolutely clear that this government more than welcomes this partnership and our strong bonds of friendship. We cherish it. Because we know that it’s good for Chinese firms and investors, and it’s good for the Malaysian people,” the prime minister said.

This, he said, was in keeping with Malaysia’s history as a seafaring, trading nation, open to the world and steadfast in its belief that it was building relationships rather than closing the door in the face of its friends, that would bring prosperity to all.

Expressing how happy he was to see a large number of Chinese entrepreneurs at the luncheon, Najib said: “Let us thank you for your continuous and active investment in Malaysia over the past years.”

The prime minister said instances of fruitful cooperation and enhanced people-to-people linkages could be seen in areas such as education and tourism, with 1.89 million Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia between January and October last year.

“Likewise, China is a popular destination not only for Malaysian Chinese but also Malays, as more Muslim-friendly facilities have been set up,” he said, adding that Malaysia would reap huge opportunities from China’s Belt and Road Initiative which could potentially be the world’s largest platform for economic cooperation.

Najib told the gathering that it was unfortunate that a former Malaysian leader wished to undermine that relationship.

“Whenever Chinese investment comes up, he accuses this government of selling Malaysia’s sovereignty to China. On that basis, did we sell our sovereignty to Japan during his time in power?

“As it happens, it’s still the case that we have had more investment from Japan than from China and Hong Kong in the long run. But as far as I can tell, we’re still a sovereign nation,” the Prime Minister said. – BERNAMA


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