A-G Gani Patail is not above the Law


April 11, 2014

A-G Gani Patail loses to Rosli Dahlan: NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW

by Din Merican

mh370-hishammuddinWilliam Pesek, a prominent Bloomberg columnist, wrote recently that the global outcry over the loss of flight MH370 has highlighted the country’s deepest flaws of incompetent people running the country.

The Fumbling Team of MH370

“The fumbling exposed an elite that’s never really had to face questioning from its people, never mind the rest of the world. The country needs nothing less than a political revolution,” said Pesek. And I agree. Nothing will change until the present political elite is made to pay for their ineptitude, incompetence and crooked ways by Malaysian voters.

At the international level, our political leaders will have to take the blame. At the national level, we are facing a crisis of our public institutions being headed by not just mediocre and incompetent people but also characters who are downright dishonest and who abuse the system with impunity– the rogues in government.

Rosli Dahlan wins against A-G Patail

Vazeer, a former practising lawyer before being made a judge, said he agreed that deliberate abuse of power by those holding a public office was misfeasance in public office.

Vazeer, a former practising lawyer before being made a judge, said he agreed that deliberate abuse of power by those holding a public office was misfeasance in public office.

That brings me to the news reports of this morning that my young friend, Lawyer Rosli Dahlan, has again won another case against A-G Gani Patail. For my readers’ convenience I have reproduced only the MKini report by Hafiz Yatim (below) that provides interesting links on this story that never ceases to inspire me.

Back in Time–To the Eve of Hari Raya (Aidil Fitr), 2007

It’s a sad story of how on the eve of Hari Raya 2007, Lawyer Rosli Dahlan (right) wasR Dahlan brutally arrested in his office in full view of his staff by the ACA (now MACC). He was then charged in a most sensational manner to deceive the public into believing that Rosli had hidden illegitimate assets belonging to the Director of Commercial Crimes, Dato Ramli Yusuff, in another sensational story fanned by the media dubbed as the “The RM 27 million Cop”.

All this was part of a conspiracy to eliminate Dato Ramli from the PDRM as Dato Ramli posed a threat to then IGP Musa Hassan and A-G Gani Patail. Rosli was made a victim because he dared to defend Dato Ramli despite warnings having been sent to him. Since then, Musa‘s former ADC had sworn a Statutory Declaration to expose IGP Musa Hassan’s links with the underworld.

A lot more was also disclosed about A-G Gani Patail’s association with shady corporate figures like the one in the Ho Hup Affair. The Internet was also abuzz with stories about how A-G Gani Patail went to Haj and had his son to share a room with a shady former Police Inspector who was once charged for corruption, Shahidan Shafie, a proxy of former MAS Chairman Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli.

Tajuddin Ramli and the MAS saga was among the many failures of Dr Mahathir’s Bumiputra corporate advancement project which culminated with MH370 disaster. The latest episode could sink MAS without tax-payers bailout forthcoming .

Tajuddin Ramli and the MAS saga was among the many failures of Dr Mahathir’s Bumiputra corporate advancement project which culminated with MH370 disaster. The latest episode could sink MAS without tax-payers bailout forthcoming .

That explains why A-G Gani never charged Tajudin Ramli for the losses of RM 8 billion that MAS suffered despite recommendations by Dato Ramli Yusuff. Dato Mat Zain Ibrahim, former KL OCCI also swore SDs about A-G Gani Patail throwing away the Batu Putih case for pecuniary gains.

Ramli YusuffYet Gani Patail remains as the A-G of Malaysia, leading many to speculate that he has a grip on PM Najib Razak because of Razak Baginda’s acquittal in the murder of the Mongolian beauty, Altantuya Shariibu. In that case, the A-G did not appeal against Razak Baginda’s acquittal.

On the other hand, the A-G has pursued criminal appeals against certain people like Lawyer Rosli Dahlan and Dato Ramli Yusuff (left). In the PKFZ case, A-G Gani Patail charged and appealed against the acquittal of Tun Ling Liong Sik which led to Tun Lingcalling him – “ That Stupid Fella”.

Back to Rosli’s case. Lawyer Rosli, he has fought a long and lonely battle, winning his acquittal and then suing every one of the mainstream media for defaming him – Utusan Malaysia, The Star and the NST, and winning against them one by one very patiently.

On April 15, 2008, Utusan Malaysia published a public apology admitting their wrongdoings and acknowledged that the Utusan Malaysia’s article “was written and published in a sensational manner to generate publicity which exceeded the parameters of ethical journalism surrounding the investigation of YDH Dato’ Pahlawan Haji Ramli Haji Yusuf who at that time held the post of Director of the Commercial Crime Investigation Department of Police DiRaja Malaysia.”

Utusan's Apology

On January 15, 2013, the Star paid damages and admitted to its wrongdoings in a published public apology.

The Star's Apology

On October 18, 2013, the KL High Court found the NST and the MACC guilty of defaming Rosli and ordered them to pay damages of RM 300,000 and costs. This made history as it was the first time that the MACC was sued by a person and the MACC lost and had to pay damages.

Last year Rosli sued A-G Gani Patail, MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim and several other MACC officers for conspiracy, false and malicious investigation, abuse of power, abuse of prosecutorial discretion, malicious prosecution, prosecutorial misconduct and public misfeasance.

Read the MKini report below and you will discover that A-G Gani Patail had engaged Tan Sri Cecil Abraham , a senior private lawyer from Messrs ZulRafique & Partners (an UMNO law firm) to defend him, the A-G Chambers (A-GC) and the MACC.

I find that surprising since I am told that the A-GC has over 800 lawyers, making the A-GC the “largest law firm” in the country. By contrast, I am told that the largest private law firm in the country has a maximum of 140 lawyers.

 Putrajaya needs to review its policies as it can't afford to spend taxpayers' money on the AG's own legal problem.


Putrajaya needs to review its policies as it can’t afford to spend taxpayers’ money on the AG’s own legal problem.

That means the Government of Malaysia spends millions of ringgit to staff the A-GC in order to defend the government. Yet when the Government is sued, A-G Gani Patail engages private lawyers. Does that makes sense to you?

Is A-G Gani Patail admitting that he is not confident of the A-GC, which he heads, to defend him and the government in the face of the law suit by Lawyer Rosli Dahlan? Is A-G Gani Patail admitting that the A-GC is incompetent? Was that why Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah was asked to be an ad hoc DPP to prosecute the appeal against Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim? Or is there is a commercial logic to that? Is A-G Gani Patail outsourcing legal work to his friends in the private sector to reward them for covering up for his misconduct and incompetence?

Cecil Abraham sits in the MACC’s Operations Review Panel.

Cecil Abraham sits in the MACC’s Operations Review Panel.

I had a chat with Tan Sri Robert Phang who has always been critical of A-G Gani Patail. He told me a more worrisome story. Robert Phang questioned whether Tan Sri Cecil Abraham (right) is a fit to lawyer to defend the A-G because Cecil Abraham sits in the MACC’s Operations Review Panel, which advises on oversights in the MACC. One of the committee’s functions is to ensure that the MACC and other government agencies do not commit abuses. It is like an Ombudsman. If so, how can Cecil Abraham defend A-G Gani Patail and the other MACC officers whom Rosli has accused of fixing him? Is that not a conflict of interest?

Other lawyers tell me that Cecil Abraham is the senior lawyer implicated in the PI Bala SD case over the Altantuya murder. I am stunned by all these revelations. It seems that all the committees and advisory panels in the MACC and other government agencies are to cover up for their wrongdoings rather than to expose and correct them. No wonder our country is headed for doom !

Americk Sidhu, PI Bala's lawyer makes a startling revelation at the Bar AGM that Cecil Abraham confided in him that he prepared the 2nd SD on instructions from Najib.

Americk Sidhu, PI Bala’s lawyer makes a startling revelation at the Bar AGM that Cecil Abraham confided in him that he prepared the 2nd SD on instructions from Najib.

I am told that Rosli’s Statement of Claim against A-G Gani Patail contains very damning revelations about A-G’s misconduct. I am told that with every victory that Rosli gained against A-G Gani Patail, more and more civil servants and people are coming up to him to offer assistance and being more willing to be witnesses in his cases. This was unlike before when many were afraid to be associated with him.

Is that why AG Gani Patail does not want to go to trial and employ all kinds of delaying tactics in Rosli’s suit against him. Is that why A-G Gani Patail engaged Tan Sri Cecil Abraham to strike out Rosli’s suit? Otherwise, why is A-G Gani Patail so afraid to go to trial in Rosli’s case?

But now that Tan Sri Cecil has lost this striking out application and the A-G is ordered to pay cost to Rosli, who is going to bear this cost? Should taxpayer’s money be used to pay for the misconduct of these rogues in government? If we taxpayers have to bear this cost, then A-G Gani Patail and the likes of him will never be repentant. There will never be accountability!

In my view, A-G Gani Patail must bear the full costs of his misconduct. He must be held accountable and he must pay the legal fees charged by his friend Tan Sri Cecil Abraham. I am also of the view that the MACC should sack Cecil Abraham from being on its Advisory Panel. Cecil Abraham cannot sit there to pretend that he is acting as a check and balance against the MACC’s misconducts whereas he is also covering up for the MACC when the MACC is sued by Rosli, and getting well paid by the Government using tax payer’s money!

Conflict of Interest

The conflict of interest is so clear and it is appalling that a senior titled lawyer like Tan Sri Cecil Abraham cannot see that. I also feel that the Bar Council should not stand idle arms akimbo with this revelation. The Bar Council should subject Cecil Abraham to disciplinary proceedings for breaching such common sense rule on conflict of interests. Cecil has dishonored the Bar and the Council must act against him!

Well Done, JC Wazeer Alam Mydin 

In that regard, I must congratulate Judicial Commissioner Wazeer Alam Mydin for having a fair sense justice in not allowing A-G Gani Patail to strike out Rosli ‘s claim. A judicial Commissioner is basically a probationary judge. For a probationary Judge to do this means JC Wazeer is indeed a brave man who would not tolerate public authorities who commit abuses and then claim immunity. It is indeed a brave probationary judge to stand up to the A-G and tell it to the A-G’s face that the A-G is not above the law.

The winds of change is blowing and judges like JC Wazeer Alam will be a credit to the judiciary. JC Wazeer Alam is indeed a brave man to make this iconic statement:

“The claim by AG of his absolute public and prosecutorial immunity is an anathema to modern democratic society.”

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April 11, 2014

A-G not immune to legal action, rules Judge

by Hafiz Yatim@www.malaysiakini.com

The Attorney-General is not immune to legal action, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled today.

Judicial Commissioner Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera said this in dismissing Attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail’s application to strike out the suits by former Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Ramli Yusuff and his lawyer Rosli Dahlan.

Public authorities who abused their powers have been "insulated" from prosecution for "far too long" by using the Public Authorities Protection Act.

Public authorities who abused their powers have been “insulated” from accountability  for “far too long” by using the Public Authorities Protection Act.

“I am afraid that the notion of absolute immunity for a public servant, even when mala fide or abuse of power in the exercise of their prosecutorial power is alleged in the pleadings, is anathema to modern day notions of accountability.

“I agree that deliberate abuse of power by a person holding a public office is tortious and is referred to as misfeasance in public office.

“Such a tortious act can arise when an officer actuated by malice, for example, by personal spite or a desire to injure for improper reasons, abuses his power,” Vazeer Alam said.

“This is keeping with developments in modern jurisprudence that absolute immunity for public servants has no place in a progressive democratic society,” the judge added. The A-G and two other officers from the A-G’s Chambers were named in the respective suits filed by Ramli Yusuff and Rosli Dahlan.

They had sought to strike out the suits on the grounds that they should be immune to such action in carrying out their prosecution powers. Ramli had filed a RM128.5 million suit against A-G Gani, former IGP Musa Hassan and several Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officers.

Rosli had filed a separate suit amounting to RM48 million against the same parties.The two are suing them for abuse of power, malfeasance in the performance of public duty, malicious prosecution and prosecutorial misconduct, among others.

Suits not filed out of time

Judicial Commissioner Vazeer Alam also ruled that the two suits for malicious prosecution were not filed out of time as this cause of action accrued upon the determination of the final appeal. He said that the court could not consider the period to be when Ramli or Rosli  were acquitted, as there were subsequent appeals against the acquittals made after this.

“As with Ramli’s case, the appeals lodged by the public prosecutor were dismissed in June and in November 2011. Therefore the filing of the action on Nov 1 last year is well within the time stipulated in Section 2 of the Public Authority Protection Act,” the  ruled,

Vazeer Alam also allowed the two to name the MACC in their legal action, since the MACC took over from the Anti-Corruption Agency.

Ramli had sued the defendants for their claim that he was the policeman in the Copgate affair and that he had RM27 million in assets.

Subsequently, Ramli was charged with the non-disclosure of some of his assets and the case against him was thrown out. Ramli’s lawyer friend Rosli was also hauled up as a result of this.

Ramli, who was a former state Police Chief for Pahang and Sabah, said in his statement of claim that his relationship with Gani soured in 2006.

This was after he met then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and recommended that former Malaysia Airlines chairperson Tajudin Ramli be prosecuted for the severe losses suffered by the company.

“But the A-G decided not to prosecute Tajudin. I even told the PM then that if the AG was reluctant to prosecute Tajudin, the CCID would have the necessary resources to conduct the prosecution.

“This earned me Gani’s permanent displeasure…” Ramli said in his statement of claim.

‘A brave decision’

After today’s court session, Ramli commended the judge for his brave decision. “I am not doing this for Ramli Yusuff but for the Police Force, some of whom have been victimised as a result of this. And I am also doing this for the serving government officers who have also been victimised.

“I am also seeking closure to an event that has affected my possible career advancement,” he said.

The RM27 million investigations had hindered his promotion to be the Inspector-General of Police, he added. This post was subsequently handed over to Musa Hassan.

Rosli, on commending today’s High Court decision, said abuses by the public authority have for too long been insulated by invoking the Public Authority Protection Act.

“Today, a brave judge has declared that absolute prosecutorial immunity is  anathema to the modern concept of democracy. This is to remind the public authorities that no one is above the law,” Rosli said.

Several Police Officers under Ramli’s charge have also been prosecuted as a result of the Copgate affair and all of them have acquitted and have been reinstated to their posts during former IGP Ismail Omar’s tenure.

Ramli was represented by Harvinderjit Singh, while Chethan Jethwani and Darvindeer Kaur appeared for Rosli. Senior lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham, Rishwant Singh and Senior federal counsel Dato Amarjeet Singh represented the defendants.

Vazeer fixed June 18 for case management to possibly fix trial dates for the hearing.

Raja Zalim Raja Disanggah


February 23, 2014

Raja Zalim Raja Disanggah

imageby Din Merican

Karpal Singh has been convicted under s.4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 for saying that “the Sultan of Perak can be sued” for causing the removal of the PAS Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaludin, which  led to the BN seizing control of the state assembly through the back door by bringing in an unelected person to be Speaker,  thus giving majority to BN in the Perak State Assembly to install Zambry Kadir as Menteri Besar.

Sedition is an antiquated and undemocratic offence and most modern states have repealed or put it into disuse. It certainly has no place in a modern and democratic Malaysia that we aspire to be.

Sedition is an antiquated and undemocratic offence and most modern states have repealed or put it into disuse. It certainly has no place in a modern and democratic Malaysia that we aspire to be.

The story of the sneaking in of a new Speaker into the Perak state parliament; the story of how Regent Raja Nazrin waited from morning in the Royal Chambers to deliver his opening speech, only to get to do it in the late evening as if nothing had happened at all are all well documented.

Sivakumar is half pushed, half pulled out of the chambers. He was forcibly removed from the speaker's chair .

Sivakumar was half pushed, half pulled out of the chambers. He was forcibly removed from the speaker’s chair .

The Constitutional Crisis of Perak was unprecedented not only in Malaysian history but also in the history of any country in the world. Even the assassination of Julius Caesar could be justified because Julius Caesar wanted to be Emperor of Rome and Brutus and gang wanted to prevent him from getting that approval from the Roman Senate. Brutus justified the murder by saying “It is not that I love Caesar less but I love Rome more.” So, Julius was disposed in the Senate just before he became Caesar to protect democracy against dictatorship. In Perak, democracy was assassinated  right in the very house of a state parliament.

The Ruler asked Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to resign together with the executive council members. Sultan Azlan Shah also ominously declared - if they refuse to resign the post (of Menteri Besar and State Executive Councilors) would be considered vacant.

The Ruler asked Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to resign together with the executive council members.
Sultan Azlan Shah also ominously declared – if they refuse to resign the post (of Menteri Besar and State Executive Councilors) would be considered vacant.

And by whom?

By none other than the constitutional head of the state. This was democracy in modern times being crucified by the very person who is to be the umbrella and protector of democracy and the people’s rights to its elected government. And democracy died.

It is totally unjust and un-democratic for MPs to switch parties and claim that they still represent what the people voted them in for.

It is totally unjust and un-democratic for MPs to switch parties and claim that they still represent what the people voted them in for.

Given that dramatic event, is it beyond the reasonable man’s mind that the people would speak out? Is it beyond expectation that the Rakyat would rise and object? Even if those reposed with trust to advise the rulers on such matters abdicate their duty because of fear as in this proverb “Tohok Raja Tiada Dapat Dielakkan”, the history of mankind has shown that there will always be A Few Good Men who would speak out for the truth. Karpal Singh would not be called the Tiger of Jelutong if he did not roared out his views over something so manifestly wrong. At least Karpal did not throw stones at the royalty of Perak as some people did to express their disgust over what was seen as the palace complicity in the assassination of democracy.

I recall video footages and pictures of the people of Perak throwing stones at the Regent’s car. That was how disgusted the Rakyat felt towards the Perak royalty. As a Malay, I felt very sad to see the consequences when the royalty and monarchy are dragged to descend into the arena of gutter politics. That would be unthinkable in Thailand where the monarch has always remain impartial to party politics. And that impartiality ensures not only the monarchy’s survival in a modern democracy like Queen Elizabeth of England but also remain revered by the people like King Bhumipol Adulyadej of Thailand. The monarchy must learn to read the Rakyat’s pulse and be a unifying force like how Winston Churchill encouraged the stuttering King George VI to deliver that famous speech unfiying Britons as Britain went to war in the  movie The King’s Speech.

A vehicle with a yellow (royal) registration plate, said to be ferrying Perak crown prince Raja Nazrin Shah, was pelted with stones by angry supporters of the PRU12, which has shown PR won the State of Perak.

A vehicle with a yellow (royal) registration plate, said to be ferrying Perak crown prince Raja Nazrin Shah, was pelted with stones by angry supporters of the PRU12, which has shown PR won the State of Perak.

Yet, in Perak the Rakyat’s expressed its utter disgust. Why?

HRH Sultan of Perak is Raja Azlan Shah who before becoming Sultan was the Lord President of Malaysia, the chief judge of the country. There were much hopes when Raja Azlan Shah became Sultan.

HRH Sultan of Perak is Raja Azlan Shah who before becoming Sultan was the Lord President of Malaysia, the chief judge of the country. There were much hopes when Raja Azlan Shah became Sultan.

HRH Sultan of Perak is Raja Azlan Shah who before becoming Sultan was the Lord President of Malaysia, the Chief judge of the country. There was much hope when Raja Azlan Shah became Sultan. There was hope that His Majesty would put some semblance of Rule of Law in the governance of his own state of Perak and in the country when Raja Azlan Shah became Yang DiPertuan Agong of Malaysia. The Perak Royalty was regarded as one of the more educated royalties of this country. So, when Raja Nazrin became regent and espoused all the ideals of good governance, the people became hopeful. The people agreed with everything Raja Nazrin said. He became a symbol of an enlightened royalty of Malaysia like the big white hope of boxing. But all hopes dissipated. That disappointment culminated in the manner that MB Nizar was deposed. And the Perak Royalty lost all credibility. I am saying this because people tell me so and it is my duty to convey this so that our royalty can reflect on their relevance and survival in a new world.

The prosecution and conviction of Karpal Singh who is a parliamentarian and a senior lawyer does nothing to instil respect, love and reverence for our royalty and monarchy. It will do the exact opposite as can be seen in the extinction of other monarchies in the world. If that happens, the Malays will have to blame UMNO, our Malay politicians and our Malay holders of public offices including the Judiciary for being less than wise in managing such issues.

ICJ's International Legal Advisor on Southeast Asia Emerlynne Gil said this conviction sends out a message that lawyers in Malaysia are not free to express their opinions about legal issues.

ICJ’s International Legal Advisor on Southeast Asia Emerlynne Gil said this conviction sends out a message that lawyers in Malaysia are not free to express their opinions about legal issues.

We, Malays, make such a big fuss about protecting kedaulatan Raja-Raja Melayu and, in doing so, we instigate for the prosecution of anyone especially non-Malays like Karpal to teach them a lesson not to memperlekehkan our Raja-Raja. As a result, we bring to the world’s attention the oppressiveness of our archaic laws and the abuses that can arise from such laws. In the end, we will be the losers because we never heed our own peribahasa – “Kasihkan Raja Di Atas Usungan”.

I will not explain the meaning of that proverb so that you, the readers, and hopefully all Malay politicians will research, read and apply that peribahasa in the proper context when dealing with our Malay royalty.

 Same case, same judge, different judgments -- only in the land of endless possibilities! mj


Same case, same judge, different judgments — only in the land of endless possibilities! mj

In prosecuting and convicting Karpal Singh, neither the Malay executive nor the Judiciary gave cogisance to another Malay legal maxim or peribahasa which is so significant in this context. If Karpal Singh can be convicted for sedition just for questioning the powers of a malay monarch, then this maxim must be expunged from the Malay perbendaharaan of peribahasa – “ Raja Adil Raja Disembah Raja Zalim Raja Disanggah“.

Dear Tuanku, Please stop this Robbery in the Name of Islam


February 12, 2014

Dear Tuanku, Please stop this Robbery in the Name of Islam

MY  COMMENT: A few days ago in my article “Islam at theFacebook-K and D Crossroads in Malaysia”, I raised several issues that have been plaguing our country. I received both positive and negative comments, all of which I posted in the comments section as I believe that a healthy exchange of ideas is the foundation for freedom of expression. Even comments from UMNO Cyber troopers were allowed access and posted, so long as they respect my condition for non-vulgar or crass exchanges. It is difference of opinion that will strengthen us as a people of one nation. We must be allowed to disagree. Unity in diversity. That is what that has made Malaysia unique.

I am gratified that most readers were equally concerned about my safety upon hearing about my accident. Even old friends like the former US Ambassador John Mallot wrote in to express concern. But I also wrote about current issus that troubled me, especially about the abuses of the law and legal processes by religious authorities. I also wanted to give moral support to my young friend, Lawyer Rosli Dahlan, that he should not feel guilty about doing cases against the religious authorities. He should not feel guilty about representing Chinese companies or individuals who are robbed of their land, whose premises are violated and trespassed. For that matter, neither race nor religion should be of any consideration when one fights for truth and justice.

The secret of life is to have no fear; it's the only way to function.

The secret of life is to have no fear; it’s the only way to function.

Today, I read in the Malay Mail that Rosli Dahlan had succeeded in persuading the High Court to check the misconduct of Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS). Yes, the same JAIS that seized the Christian Bible with “Allah”. I say bravo to Rosli. I say fight on without fear or favour. I am proud that there is a fearless Malay Muslim lawyer who will take on JAIS, which of late has been committing mischief and seems to be on a frolic of its own. If, as many have said, JAIS takes directions only from HRH The Sultan of Selangor, then I say this to HRH Tuanku:

“Ampun Tuanku, Sembah patek harap diampun. JAIS yang dibawah naungan Tuanku bertindak sesuka hati sehingga mencemarkan nama Islam dan merosakkan perpaduan kaum. Maka Patek mohon sudilah Tuanku perhatikan sedikit hal ini supaya Negeri Selangor Darul Ehsan tidak bertambah porak peranda. Ampun Tuanku.”

Now read the report from Malay Mail below and tell me is JAIS is not committing land robbery in broad daylight in the name of Islam.–Din Merican

THE MALAY MAIL ARTICLE:

February 12, 2014

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/developer-wins-leave-to-challenge-land-acquisition-by-islamic-authority

Developer Wins Leave to Challenge Land Acquisition by Islamic Authority

by Ida Lim

The Shah Alam High Court today allowed a private developer to legally challenge the Selangor religious authorities’ compulsory acquisition of its land.

According to private developer United Allied Empire Sdn Bhd (UAE)’s lead counsel Rosli Dahlan, High Court judge Vernon Ong also froze all action on the 26-acre plot of land until the end of the judicial review proceedings.

“The judge gave a full stay until the judicial review (is fully heard),” Rosli told The Malay Mail Online.

On January 23, the High Court had granted an interim stay, temporarily blocking all action on the land until it delivered its decision today on UAE’s application for a judicial review.

Rosli said the judge today also allowed UAE to include their requests for declaratory reliefs in the judicial review case. He explained that the court usually only allowed judicial review applicants to ask for an order to quash the alleged wrongful actions.

The hearing date for the judicial review has not been set.

In the lawsuit, UAE had accused the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) of abusing their powers to grab its land in Bestari Jaya — an area formerly known as Batang Berjuntai — in the state’s Kuala Selangor district.

 The developer claims JAIS’s declared intention for land acquisition in a government gazette contradicts a notice of MAIS's proposed project, which is seen in front of the existing Masjid Ar-Ridwan mosque in Batang Berjuntai, Selangor.


Given 1 acre by UAE (the Developer) for a Mosque, but MAIS acquired 26.281 acres

UAE had written to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim last April 12, seeking their intervention on the dispute with Jais and other state bodies, but no reply was received, Rosli said last month.

UAE had written to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim last April 12, seeking their intervention on the dispute, but no reply was received, lead counsel Rosli Dahlan said last month.

UAE had written to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim last April 12, seeking their intervention on the dispute, but no reply was received, lead counsel Rosli Dahlan said last month.

As a last resort, UAE last April 22 applied for a judicial review to revoke the compulsory acquisition of its land measuring 26.281 acres — roughly the size of 20 international football fields.

UAE said Jais had hidden their real intention to build a fully integrated Islamic school with hostel, shelter and rehabilitation centre on the land. The government had gazetted the land for the construction of a giant mosque.

The ethnic Chinese-owned company has also accused the state authorities of purported racial oppression and violation of its constitutional rights. It alleged that the religious bodies had abused their powers to avoid paying fair compensation for the land and had shored up their land bank for future development.

According to UAE, compulsory acquisition of private land was only allowed if it benefited the public under Article 13 of the Federal Constitution. The same article also says that property owners should receive adequate compensation for the compulsory acquisition or use of their property.

In its judicial review application, UAE named the Director of Selangor’s Land and Mines Department, the Kuala Selangor land administrator, Jais, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS), Selangor Zakat Board and the Selangor government as respondents.

The developer also argued that the land authorities’ decision to allow the acquisition amounted to an “unreasonable exercise of power” for failing to ensure legal compliance.

Also read the previous article : here

“A word is anything I say it means”


February 12, 2013

“A word is anything I say it means”

by Terence Netto@http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT: “So you are a mercenary, lah,” quipped judge Richard Malanjum from the bench yesterday while Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was holding forth.

The Senior Counsel was expatiating on the list of parties and politicians he had appeared for in the course of a long career – a variety, he submitted, that would attest his professional skills more than his partisan affiliations.

A titer of laughter ran through the crowd at the Federal Court as Malanjum interjected to make the comment. But the matter at hand – a defendant’s right to a fair trial – was not a trifling one.

It concerned whether Shafee, who has been prolific in advocacy of clients regarded as adverse to the defence, could perform without presumptive bias the Deputy Public Prosecutor’s role in the government’s appeal of the High Court acquittal for sodomy of Anwar Ibrahim.

Malanjum (left), Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, together with four others, was on a panel to decide a defence application to disqualify Shafee from appearing as DPP.

Malanjum made the remark as Shafee was attempting to rebut the defence argument that he was a political partisan, a hack with a bias for UMNO briefs.

Anwar’s lawyers had argued that Shafee’s past advocacy on behalf of a political entity seen as patently adverse towards their client had saddled him with bias sufficient to disqualify him for the role of DPP in the government’s appeal of Anwar’s acquittal.

Hearing of the appeal is scheduled for today and tomorrow at the Court of Appeal.

Amiable ribbing or deliberate putdown?

Shafee, whose riposte to Malanjum’s remark was that his was the business of professional practice of the law, was keen in comments to an inquiring press after the hearing, to make the point that Malanjum’s quip was to be taken in the spirit of banter.

Whether Malanjum’s comment was amiable ribbing or deliberate putdown, the nature of the profession is such that no lawyer can behave like a mercenary and at the same time be true to the profession’s ethics.

It would be a suicidal loss of essence to the concept of the Rule of Law if an officer of the court is motivated by mercantile considerations: a duty to the service of justice which underpins the whole concept of law’s rule and an attitude of hiring oneself out to munificent bidders is like water and oil – they can’t mix.

Given the gravity and majesty of the Rule of Law, Malanjum’s remark about the range of Shafee’s clients cannot be viewed as innocuous banter.
But Shafee (right) chose to interpret it in the spirit of Humpty Dumpty who famously held that “A word is anything I say it means”

However, the Rule of Law and the words used to formulate and interpret it cannot adopt the attitude of Humpty Dumpty whose creator, Lewis Carol, it is instructive to recall, was a mathematician and logician.

Precision in the making and interpretation of the law are an integral part of its panoply so that one cannot make light of a ranking judge’s remark such as Malanjum’s, more so when that advocacy is being commandeered for a public prosecutorial role that, by definition, is free of any presumption of bias.

Also, the practice of law is a tradition, with a known set of rules and attached meanings.This tradition is an accumulation of nuance given pith and moment by the behaviour of the profession’s leading lights.

Evidence given by a critical witness

In the course of his submissions yesterday on the matter of his fitness for the role of DPP, Shafee mentioned that he had assisted the late and eminent Raja Aziz Addruce in a 1987 court case that eventuated in the illegalisation of UMNO.

Judge Harun Hashim’s decision to render UMNO illegal triggered a concatenation that saw then Lord President Tun Salleh Abas hauled before an international tribunal of judges to be impeached, an episode that Salleh’s predecessor, Tun Suffian Hashim, would bemoan as the most “shameful” in our judicial history.

Perhaps the most excruciating aspect of the whole charade was the presence as head of the tribunal of Abdul Hamid Omar, the Judge who stood, in terms of promotion, to gain from Salleh’s impeachment.

Salleh was impeached and Hamid duly promoted to the vacant Lord President’s position. After that, for as long as Hamid was head of the judiciary, Raja Aziz (left), the Bar’s preeminent member at that time, chose as a matter of principle not to appear before any panel of the apex court that included Hamid.

The protest meant that Raja Aziz had to forgo much in the way of professional fees. This is the type of conduct that added several cubits to Raja Aziz’s already high standing among peers and lent luster to the ethical bases on which the legal profession stands.

Shafee has been on public record on the line of argument he will take in the appeal of Anwar’s acquittal for sodomy.

From what he has said, he will necessarily rely on the evidence given by a critical witness, DSP Jude Pereira, whose handling of DNA exhibits High Court judge Zabidin Mohd Diah found to be unreliable and, therefore, inadmissible as a basis for convicting Anwar of sodomy.

In a Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) inquiry in 2009, as panel chairperson, Shafee impugned the probity of the same Police Officer whom the chair found unreliable as a witness in a matter concerning the violation of the rights of five lawyers who had complained to the commission on their treatment.

Today and tomorrow’s hearing on the appeal of Anwar’s acquittal will go a long way in establishing whether Shafee can with a straight face argue that what has not been good for the Suhakam goose can be good for the Court of Appeal gander.

Wanita UMNO Chief withdraws Defamation Suit Against PKR Duo


November 12, 2013

Wanita UMNO Chief withdraws Defamation Suit Against PKR Duo

by Kow Kwan Yee@http://www.malaysiakini.com

SHAHRIZAT JALILAfter talking tough, why withdraw?

In a surprising development, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has withdrawn her RM100 million defamation suit against PKR’s Rafizi Ramli and Zuraida Kamaruddin, without attaching any conditions.

The Wanita UMNO head and a former Federal Minister had sued the duo over their claims in relation to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC), which is operated by her husband and children.

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Justice Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera allowed the suit to be withdrawn after meeting lawyers for both parties in chambers.Shahrizat was not present, but Rafizi and Zuraida were in court.

‘It does not mean an end to NFC issue’

Outside the courtroom, Rafizi said the move does not mean an end to the NFC issue, saying he was determined to continue investigating the matter.

“Shahrizat’s decision to withdraw the case today proves that what we have revealed has basis and relates to public interest,” he said.

On the counter-claim by both he and Zuraida against Shahrizat, Rafizi said they decided not to pursue the case as well on grounds that it had little relation with public interest.

Stating an example, Rafizi said Shahrizat had previously called him a ‘jambu boy’ (pretty boy), which he opined did not affect the public but himself only.

Meanwhile, Zuraida said she believed Shahrizat decided to withdraw the suit only after her triumph in defending her Wanita UMNO post last month and her earlier appointment as Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s adviser on women’s affairs.

She would continue to highlight this case, Zuraida said, especially in Parliament, to ensure the revival of NFC project. “We want to make sure the public money is returned back to the people,” she added.

ramli yusuff asset declare case 120310 muhammad shafee abdullahNo inferences please

Senior lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said they have settled the matter over the statement of claim by Shahrizat, and the counter-claims of Rafizi and Zuraida.

“Both sides have got serious claims. But today, what they have decided is for both sides to withdraw their claim claims.”

“When my client filed it she knew that the statements were made because the election was near. She thought the statements were made to influence the results of the election. That is why she had to file it as quickly as possible.

“Now that the election is over, there is no point in pursuing the matter further. I think it is wiser for them to withdraw their cases without costs,” said Shafee.

In a press release late this evening, Shafee said that despite all parties involved having mutually agreeing to withdraw their suits, all other suits and claims by the National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd and others against Rafizi will continue.

“We also wish to state that our client reserves her rights to institute proceedings should this mutual withdrawal be used to impute any adverse inference upon our client,” he said.

Additional reporting by Hafiz Yatim.

High Court throws out Halim’s RM1.8 billion suit


October 31, 2013

MY COMMENT:  This is a bizarre decision by the Judge. The first defendant in this case is Nor Mohamed Yakcop who was the person who negotiated with Halim Saad on the instructions of former Prime Minister (Tun) Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to enable Khazanah to restructure the Renong-UEM Group. There were exchanges of letters between the parties concerned. Otherwise, Halim would not have  resorted to the courts for justice. He would not waste the court’s time if he did not feel that he had been fraudulently misled by Nor Mohamed. There was never any intention on the part of defendants to honour representations made to Halim. I hope Halim will not be discouraged from appealing against this court decision. –Din Merican

High Court throws out Halim’s RM1.8 billion suit

http://www.malaysiakini.com

HalimSaadThe High Court in Kuala Lumpur today struck out the RM1.8 billon lawsuit filed against the government by former Renong Bhd chairperson Abdul Halim Saad.

Halim, a former majority owner and executive chairperson of Renong, filed the suit against Khazanah Nasional Bhd, former Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop and the government of Malaysia.

Khazanah Nasional is the strategic investment fund of the government entrusted to hold and manage its commercial assets. In making the decision, judge Hanipah Farikullah said there was no cause of action for Halim to file the suit.

“There was no fraud and fraudulent misrepresentation committed by the defendants. “The plaintiff (Halim) has been sleeping all these years and appeared suddenly have woken up by filing this action this year,” Justice Hanipah said.

She said this in her ruling that Halim had also filed his action out of time. The court found the agreement among the parties to have been made in 2003 and the action filed by Halim was way out of time of the six years that aggrieved parties have to file their cause of action.

With the suit being strucked out, the matter will not go to trial. Justice nor-mohamed-yakcopHanipah also ordered Halim to pay costs of RM25,000 to former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nor Mohamed and the government, and another RM25,000 to Khazanah Nasional.

The court made the decision today after hearing the application by the defendants to strike out the suit on the grounds it was filed out of time.

Lawyers Gopal Sreenevasan and Ranjit Singh appeared for Halim, while Nitin Nadkurni appeared for Khazanah Nasional and senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh and Suzana Atan for Nor Moahmed and the government.

Once blue-eyed boy

Halim, once the blue-eyed boy in the corporate world like Tajudin Ramli who took over Malaysia Airlines, was brought in during the government’s privatisation programme in the 1990′s.

Renong has 100 percent ownership of Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan (Plus), Prolink Development Sdn Bhd and Putra LRT, and has substantial stakes in United Engineers (M) Bhd, Faber Group Bhd, Park May Bhd, Kinta Kellas PLC, Cement Industries (M) Bhd, Time Engineering, Time dotCom Bhd and Commerce Asset Holdings Bhd (now CIMB).

In his statement of claim dated April 17, 2013, Halim alleged there was a breach of the Renong purchase obligation where he held a majority stake, and Nor Mohamed, the government and Khazanah had committed fraud in having him relieved of the post.

He is seeking RM1.3 billion, general damages for breach of the Renong purchase obligation, another RM508 million being value of paid up capital of Kualiti Alam Sdn Bhd in settlement of Halim’s losses for rescuing Fleet Group and damages for fraudulent misrepresentation.

The statement of claim reflects the period of the Asian financial crisis of 1997 where on or about November 17, 1997, UEM announced it had acquired 722,882,000 shares in Renong. However, in January 1998, Halim acted in his personal capacity to purchase the Renong shares from UEM and paid the first installment under a ‘put option’ on Feb 14, 2001.

The first installment was funded through a financing facility.

Summoned to meet Mahathir

drmHalim claimed in July 2001, Mahathir summoned him to Putrajaya where the then-PM informed him that he should allow the government to take over his shares in Renong and UEM group and asked him to meet with Nor Mohamed, then his special economic adviser.

Halim said he met Nor Mohamed (right) on July 12, and the meeting was also attended by his lawyer Rashid Manaff.  During the meeting, Nor Mohamed allegedly told him not to proceed with the put option and indicated that the government would purchase his shares in Renong and UEM.

He summarised these statements in a letter dated July 16, 2001 to Mahathir and wanted the Premier to reconsider his position.

Subsequent meetings were held and an agreement reached between Halim and Nor Mohamed on behalf of the government, where Khazanah as the acquirer would pay RM1.3 billion in cash and kind, purchase his 372 million shares in Renong for RM465 million and procure the transfer to Halim the entire equity of Kualiti Alam Sdn Bhd which is free of encumbrances worth RM508 million.

Halim claimed the terms were confirmed in a letter dated July 18, 2001 to Dr Mahathir. He further alleged a repayment agreement was reached orally between him and Nor Mohamed between July 2001 and June 2002.

He said Khazanah honoured the repayment agreement by paying RM165 million that includes compensation for his losses due to foreclosure of various assets pledged by him to various financiers following its initial takeover.

‘All UMNO’s assets’

“After receiving the RM165 million from Khazanah, I attended a meeting with Nor Mohamed at his office in Putrajaya, where Nor Mohamed orally agreed that the defendants would perform its obligations under the 2001 agreement.”

Halim claimed that between 2003 and 2010, he tried repeatedly to meet Nor Mohamed for him and the government to comply with the 2001 agreement, but was unsuccessful.

On April 23, 2010, Halim met Mahathir to seek a resolution of the matter but was informed by the former premier that he had been informed by Nor Mohamed that all along the assets that Khazanah were to take over were owned by UMNO.

“Mahathir said there was never any reason to pay me. Rashid was also present at the meeting. I contend that the said assets were never owned by UMNO. A meeting was arranged by Mahathir, I finally met Nor Mohamed at his office and was informed that there would not be any forthcoming payments for the reasons mentioned by Mahathir,” Halim claimed.

Halim claimed that he had been induced by Nor Mohamed as an agent representing the government for him to take up the deal for his exit from Renong and UEM. “These representations by Nor Mohamed were false in that the government and Khazanah never had any intention of entering into the 2001/or 2003 agreement to pay or perform,” he alleged in his statement.

Tussle over Renong


October 18, 2013

Tussle over Renong : Halim Saad takes on Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Khazanah and Malaysian Government

By Eileen Ng@www.themalaysianinsider.com

halim-saad-3An on-going legal tussle over UMNO’s business assets, between Putrajaya and tycoon Tan Sri Halim Saad (pic), is set to get messier, The Edge Review reported.

The digital weekly news publication reported that Halim, a former controlling shareholder of troubled conglomerate Renong Berhad, had filed a suit in mid-April to seek an order from the High Court to direct Putrajaya to honour a settlement agreement valued at roughly RM2 billion (US$629.7 million) for his takeover of the Renong group.

The filings also made public correspondence between him and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, which The Edge Review described as offering a “rare peek into behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings during some of the most dramatic days in corporate Malaysia” as the country struggled to boost investor confidence after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The report noted that recently, Halim has moved to back up his legal claims with sworn statements from key individuals, including his lawyer and a former UMNO Treasurer.

A senior Kuala Lumpur-based lawyer, Abdul Rashid Manaf, who had accompanied Halim to meetings with top government officials on the Renong takeover, claimed he was a witness to negotiations that culminated in an agreement on a financial settlement for Halim.

The report said Abdul Rashid recalled a meeting in April 2010 he attended between Dr Mahathir (pic) and Halim over protracted issues surrounding compensation for the former Renong boss.

“Dr Mahathir’s response was startling. According to him, there was never any reason to pay Halim all along,” he was quoted as saying.

The report also noted that in a separate sworn statement, UMNO’s former treasurer, Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi, recalled discussions he had with Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop who implied that the Renong assets belonged to UMNO.

“When I took over as UMNO treasurer, I received a substantial amount of cash and shares belonging to UMNO. Whether the cash portion was part of any settlement from the Renong deal, I don’t know and I never asked,” he was quoted as saying.

Halim is suing the government, the state-owned strategic investment fund nor mohamed-yakcopKhazanah Nasional Bhd  and former economic affairs minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who acted as the government’s agent in the negotiations for the Renong takeover in 2001.

The three defendants in the suit have applied to strike out Halim’s claims on grounds that there was never any agreement over compensation.T he defendants also argued that the suit was filed out of time.

Under Section 6 of the Limitation Act 1953, a litigant should act within six years once a cause of action arose.In this instance, Halim’s clock started ticking from August 2002, when he was told that his claim for the lump sum payment would not be entertained by Khazanah.

The report said when UMNO was declared illegal in April 1987, its business assets were in limbo. It said through a series complex transactions, Halim acquired UMNO’s former assets and regrouped them under Renong through personal finances and bank borrowings – not on behalf of the political party.

Reincarnated as an independent operator, Halim went on to build Renong and UEM, one of Malaysia’s largest companies.To recap, the Asian financial crisis of 1997 led to the fall in Renong’s share prices and exposed the conglomerate’s poor cash flow and large debt burdens.

A business manoeuvre that year in UEM’s purchase of a 32.5% block of shares in Renong did not go down well with the investing public. To appease the market, Halim, in 1998, offered to buy the Renong shares from UEM through a put option.

The option price was RM3.2 billion, which was to be paid in four instalments, the first three of which was RM100 million each, and the balance with interest on February 14, 2001, when the option was due.

Halim paid the first RM100 million but could not pay the second when it was due, as a result of which Khazanah took over.The sovereign wealth fund took UEM private in 2001 and later cancelled the option. – October 18, 2013.

Court lifts ban on Irshad Manji’s book


September 5, 2013

Home Affairs Ministry’s Ban on Irshad Manji’s Book removed

by Hafiz Yatim@ www.malaysiakini.com

NONEThe Home Ministry’s ban on the book by controversial Canadian author Irshad Manji titled ‘Allah, Liberty and Love’ has been removed.

This follows Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Justice Zaleha Yusof’s decision to allow ZI Publications Sdn Bhd’s application for judicial review today.ZI Publications, the publisher of the Malay translation of the book, had sought to quash the Home Ministry’s ban against the book as sales of the English version had been in the market over a year prior to the translated version.

UPDATED

ZI Publications and Home Ministry

by Hafiz Yatim @http://www.malaysiakini.com

The Home Ministry’s ban on the Bahasa Malaysia version of controversial Canadian author Irshad Manji’s book ‘Allah, Liberty and Love’ has been lifted.

This follows Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Justice Zaleha Yusof’s decision today to allow ZI Publications Sdn Bhd’s application for judicial review on the Bahasa Malaysia version.

NONEIrshad Manji’s (right) book was banned by the Home Ministry on May 29, 2012 and the ban on the English version remains.

ZI Publications, the publisher of the Malay translation of the book, had sought to quash the Home Ministry’s ban against the book as sales of the English version had been in the market over a year prior to its translated version ‘Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta’.

Justice Zaleha in her broad grounds reasoned that the English text has been on sale in the Malaysian market for a year and had not cause any disruption to public order. She asked if it is true the book was prejudicial to public order, then why was no action taken to ban the English version when it was first circulated.

“Why was the prohibition made only when it was translated to the national language?As I understand it, the root of the respondents’ concern is it would result in religious confusion as the authority decided to ban the book only when it was translated into Bahasa Malaysia.Does this mean that only the Malay speaking readers will be confused while English readers would not?”

Argument fortified

Lawyer Nizam Bashir who appeared with K Shanmuga for ZI Publications, said this fortified their argument that the sale of the Malay translated version would not result in untoward events.

Nizam indicated that the judge is expected to write the full grounds later.
NONEIn their judicial review application, ZI Publications helmed by Ezra Zaid (right), had named the Deputy Home Minister, Home Minister and the government as respondents.

The company claimed they were not allowed any opportunity to voice their views before the Deputy Home Minister’s ban on the printing, importing, producing and selling of the book last year.

They further claimed that the book only contained opinions in the form of brief summaries criticising current approaches in the administration of the religion, which were not harmful.

The ban, they alleged, was null and void as it was inconsistent with Article 10(1)(a) and 8(1) of the federal constitution, related to freedom of speech and expression. They are seeking to have the order declared nullified, with costs.

Besides this case, ZI Publications had also filed another judicial review application to challenge the power of the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department to prosecute them in the Syariah court citing it limited the company’s freedom of expression.

It was also reported that the Home Ministry and Federal Territory Islamic Department (JAWI) had been ordered by the Kuala Lumpur High Court to drop the syariah charge against Borders Gardens store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz for distributing the book.

Justice Zaleha Yusof had ruled that JAWI’s raid on March 23, 2012 predated the ban order issued by Home Ministry and that the prosecution of Nik Raina amounted to retrospective enforcement.

Nik Raina’s withdrawal of the charge was supposed to be heard at the KL Syariah High Court on August 28, then postponed to September 3 and postponed again to September 13.

This resulted in the Lawyers for Borders issuing another letter dated September 3 to the court and JAWI, expressing the hope that there are no more postponements as any judge could hear the matter.

Halim Saad’s RM2 billion lawsuit against government – defence strategy revealed


July 11, 2013

Halim Saad’s RM2 billion lawsuit against government – defence strategy revealed

by V. Anbalagan

halim-saad-3Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Halim Saad’s RM2 billion suit against the Malaysian government, Khazanah Nasional and a former Minister for allegedly duping him into giving up control of troubled conglomerate Renong, and the juicy back story of political patronage may not reach the trial stage – if the defendants have their way.

In their statement of defence, sighted by The Malaysian Insider, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and the two other defendants argue that Halim’s suit should be struck out because it was filed out of time. Under Section 6 of the Limitation Act 1953, a litigant should act within six years once a cause of action arose.

In this instance, Halim’s clock started ticking from August 2002, when he was told that his claim for the lump sum payment would not be entertained by Khazanah Nasional, the national sovereign wealth fund.

At the core of the claim, which has been the talk of the town, is the series of events which led to Halim giving up control of Renong and the role played by the then Prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Special Economic Adviser Nor Mohamed.

To recap, the Asian financial crisis of 1997 led to the fall in Renong’s share prices and exposed the conglomerate’s poor cash flow and large debt burdens.

A business manoeuvre that year in UEM’s purchase of a 32.5 per cent block of shares in Renong did not go down well with the investing public. To appease the market, Halim had, in 1998, offered to buy the Renong shares from UEM through a put option.

The total option price was RM3.2 billion, which was to be paid in four instalments, the first three of which was RM100 million each, and the balance with interest on February14, 2001, when the option was due.

Halim paid the first RM100 million but could not pay up the second when it was due, as a result of which Khazanah took over.The sovereign wealth fund took UEM private in 2001 and later cancelled the option.

Halim’s version:

Halim said he made the first payment on February 2001, and said that sometime in July 2001, he was summoned to Putrajaya where Dr Mahathir told him that he should allow the government to takeover his shareholdings in Renong and UEM, and that he should meet Nor Mohamed to discuss the process.

He alleged that a couple of meetings took place with Nor Mohamed and an agreement was reached with him exiting Renong. This included Halim being paid RM1.3 billion in cash and property as well as control of a private waste management company, roughly valued at RM2 billion.

Halim said that he wrote various letters to Dr Mahathir and Nor Mohamed seeking that the 2001 agreement be honoured. The business magnate said he only received RM165 million in 2003, and that this was part of the agreement reached in 2001 in which he gave up his stake in Renong.

He alleged that on various occasions between 2003 and 2010, he tried to meet Nor Mohamed in an effort to seek compliance of the agreement, and managed to finally see him at the latter’s office in Putrajaya where Halim was told that no payment would be forthcoming.

In their statement of defence, the three defendants dismissed Halim’s narration of events as untrue and a figment of his imagination.

Nor Mohamed and the Government of Malaysia’s version:

He noted that as the Special Economic Adviser to Dr Mahathir, he was Nor Mohamadgiven the mandate to only handle the restructuring of UEM and not to enter into any agreement to pay compensation to Halim.

In fact, the former Economic Planning Unit Minister said that when he met Halim, at no time was there any agreement by the government to pay him what he says he is owed. Discussions mainly covered the restructuring of UEM.

Khazanah Nasional’s version:

In its statement of defence, the national sovereign wealth fund sketched in some detail the circumstances which led to the takeover of Renong. It noted that on November 17, 1997, UEM made an announcement that it had bought 722 million shares in its parent company, Renong, for about RM2.38 billion. This acquisition caused an adverse reaction and the KLCI lost about RM126 billion in market capitalisation. Shortly after that, Halim entered into the put option.

On December 11, 2000, the put option was exercised and Halim was required to purchase from UEM, Renong shares at about RM3.165 billion within 14 days.

As he did not have the funds, he was allowed to pay in four instalments. On February 14, 2001, he paid the first instalment of RM100 million but did not have the finances to pay the other three instalments.

In April 2001, Khazanah was approached to provide a loan of RM2.26 billion to Halim to allow him to make a general offer for UEM shares. Khazanah declined as it already had substantial exposure to the Renong Group.

Khazanah was asked by Danaharta to consider making a general offer (GO) to all UEM shareholders and to take it private. It did so. Khazanah said that it was aware that Halim was expecting some compensation in return for his support for the UEM GO but it was never accepted by Khazanah. In fact, Halim was made aware that his proposals were rejected.

During the whole process of the GO, Halim did not claim the existence of any agreement to compensate him in cash and property, as alleged in his statement of claim, Khazanah noted.

Think MahathirKhazanah said that in April 2003, the Board of Directors at a meeting chaired by Dr Mahathir decided that it would pay a total of RM165 million as a full and final settlement to Halim.

In keeping with Halim’s request for sufficient funds to pay off his outstanding debts, the RM165 million took into consideration the sum of RM100 million he paid UEM as part of the put option and other costs, including a personal liability of RM45 million to the banks.

In a letter dated May 13 2003, Halim confirmed to Khazanah that he accepted the sum of RM165 million as full and final settlement of his claims for compensation, said the sovereign fund in its defence statement.–The  Malaysian Insider

The Sabah Claim: A Thorn in Malaysia-Philippines Relations (PART 2)


March 7, 2013

http://www.nst.com,my

The Sabah Claim: A Thorn in Malaysia-Philippines Relations (PART 2)

INITIATIVE: Philippine leaders have, since Marcos, taken the effort to resolve the sovereignty issue, writes Dr Paridah Abd Samad

THEN Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos made a dramatic move towards normalisation of bilateral relations in 1976, just prior to an ASEAN summit meeting, when he stated that the Philippines no longer intended to press its claim to sovereignty over Sabah, though he did not officially drop it. The pronouncement, however, was never followed by any concrete action.

Corazon AquinoThe dispute dragged on into the Corazon Aquino administration, which tried to resolve the problem through revising legal and constitutional provisions to drop the claim. The Philippine Constitution of 1987 no longer includes the phrase “by historical and legal rights” as part of the definition of the national territory. Also, Senate Bill No. 206, redefining the archipelagic boundaries of the Philippines, called for amendments to Republic Acts 5546, and it particularly excluded Sabah from Philippine territory.

However, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s denouncement of Aquino’s government for endorsing the bill without consulting him and bungling by the newly installed administration kept the bill from getting through the Senate, denying Aquino a diplomatic victory of the ASEAN summit in December, 1987.

The Philippines cannot just drop its claim to Sabah to patch up differences with Malaysia, as it must first consider the repercussions of such a decision on the politically unstable Sulu Archipelago. Sabah and Moro are interrelated in prolonging settlement of the dispute and in deepening the security concerns of the Philippine government.

The transmigration of mostly Filipino Muslim refugees to Sabah has put the Philippines in a favourable position because this has significantly contributed to reducing the Muslim population ratio and its resistance strength.

In 1970, Tunku Abdul Rahman played an important role in promoting international support for the Moro cause. As Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (now Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), he endorsed the Moro case submitted to him in 1972 and asked King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and (Libyan) president (Muammar) Gaddafi to help in persuading other OIC member states to support it.

But Malaysia’s optimism and hope for a new and brighter chapter in Malaysia-Philippines relations remain unfulfilled. While the Aquino administration made the effort and took the initiative to drop the sovereignty claim on Sabah, it was unable to push through its initiative because of stumbling blocks. Senate Bill 206, which excludes Sabah from Philippine territory, remains unenacted.

Since no law has yet been passed on the dropping of Sabah claim, the Philippine government still has the option to actively pursue the claim through internationally accepted norms. By pursuing the claim, the Philippine government could promote the Philippines’ historic rights and legal title over Sabah, as well as the proprietary rights of the heirs of sultan of Sulu.

However, the 1930 treaty between the United States and Great Britain drew a precise boundary to separate their island possessions off the northeast coast of Sabah. The allocation of islands defined in these treaties was enshrined in Article 1 of the Philippine Constitution of 1935.

The Philippine claim has no known international support while Malaysia is CM Musa Amanmorally supported by Great Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations in rejecting this claim. Even the US has assumed a position of neutrality. The other Asean countries, though discreetly distancing themselves form the issue since it involves two of their fellow members, also seem to silently acknowledge Malaysia’s right to the disputed territory.

For the Philippines to drop its claim to Sabah without concessions would mean outright recognition of Malaysia’s sovereignty over Sabah. Taking this position might also jeopardise the proprietary rights of the Sultan of Sulu. In general, choosing this option appears to be damaging the national integrity.

Malaysia gave a solemn commitment to satisfactorily resolve the proprietary claim with recognised Sulu heirs once the sovereignty claim is legally and finally dropped. It sees no linkage whatsoever between the two claims. Malaysia has always insisted that sovereignty and proprietary rights over Sabah are two separate questions.

The writer is a former lecturer of UiTM Shah Alam and International Islamic University Malaysia, Gombak

Former UMNO Treasurer sued for cheating, deceit and forging documents


February 27, 2013

Former UMNO Treasurer sued for cheating, deceit and forging documents

by Hafiz Yatim@http://www.malaysiakini.com

Sixty British investors through Fiscal Capital Sdn Bhd have filed a RM12 million suit against a firm owned by former UMNO Treasurer Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi for cheating, deceit and forging documents in the purchase of six telecommunication switches.

The investors had approached the Chambers of Kamarul Hisham and Hasnal Rezua and had filed the suit on February 20 at the Kuala Lumpur High Court. Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, in a press conference today, said the investors had lodged a police report on October 5, 2011, but they complained that action had been slow.

She claimed that they only started investigations last month. Zuraida said the matter had been brought to the attention of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and also Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Mukhriz Mahathir while they were in the United Kingdom, but there had been no progress.

Lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin said the matter has been fixed for case management on March 21.NONE He, along with partner Hasnal Rezua Merican, said the Police have sent the case to the Attorney-General’s Chambers but he got to know that the A-G had returned the papers to the Police.

“We cannot understand the slowness of the authorities’ action despite a police report having been lodged more than a year ago. Following this, our clients have asked us to come out to exert pressure,” he said.

The investors, through Fiscal City Sdn Bhd, named Doxport Technology (M) Sdn Bhd, and its directors Abdul Azim (left), Gurmeet Kaur and Sivalingam Techinamoorthy as defendants. Abdul Azim is also the chairperson of Doxport Technology.

Complaint to House of Lords

The victims had also complained to British politicians including Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, who will bring this matter up at the House of Lords next month.

Lord Ahmed, who was not present, said in a statement that a number of British MPs have been aware of the background to this unsettling case for several years, where British citizens and investors have made serious allegations involving misappropriation of funds.

“I have personally raised this issue with senior members of the Malaysian government. As the investors have stated to me, their demand is non-malicious and plain. They are seeking natural justice to take its course and any alleged perpetrators brought to book,” he said.

“I appeal to the executive and its representatives to continue to support and facilitate the due process, which is in the interest of Malaysia’s international reputation as a reliable hub for inward investment and trade,” he said.

Statement of claim

According to Hasnal, the investors had invested US$4 million (RM12 million) since 2008, to purchase the switches and have a stake in Doxport Technology.

The plaintiffs claimed that they had paid RM6.9 million for the purchase of the switches and another RM5.8 million to purchase the stake. The six switches were then purchased and placed in Phnom Penh, Hanoi, Saigon, Singapore, Manila and Hong Kong.

They claimed that since the switches were in operation it had generated revenue and that the investors should have received the return for their investments, for helping purchase the switches.

The investors claimed Doxport Technology had made false representations, based on fraudulent documents. They approached Lord Ahmed and also the British High Commission over Doxport’s failed business.

The plaintiffs further claimed that the defendants had made a misrepresentation to them resulting in them to suffer further economic losses.

Hence, the defendants are seeking RM6.9 million which they had fork out to purchase the switches and another RM5.8 million for the stake in the company along with general, aggravated and exemplary damages.

Deep Pocket Utusan Malaysia ordered to pay Khalid Samad


January 18, 2013

Deep Pocket Utusan Malaysia ordered to pay Khalid Samad

by Bernama@http://www.malaysiakini.com

YB Khalid Samad, MP Shah AlamA High Court’s order that Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Berhad pay RM60,000 in damages to Shah Alam member of Parliament Khalid Abdul Samad over a defamatory article published in its newspaper, has been upheld.

A Federal Court five member panel, led by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum, dismissed Utusan Melayu’s application for a review of a Court of Appeal decision which upheld the High Court’s decision.

The panel, comprising Federal Court judges Hashim Yusoff, Ahmad Maarop, Hasan Lah and Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha, also ordered Utusan to pay RM10,000 in legal costs to Khalid.

Utusan Melayu, represented by lawyer Mohana Kumar, contended that there was injustice, saying the Court of Appeal had deprived the company of its right for an extension of time to file its application for leave to appeal (against the High Court’s decision) as provided under Rule 16 of the Court of Appeal Rules 1994.

Lawyer Azhana Mohd Khairudin representing Khalid, meanwhile submitted that there was no injustice caused to Utusan Melayu.

Khalid sued Utusan Malaysia and Mingguan Malaysia group editor-in-chief Aziz Ishak andAziz Ishak the publisher of Utusan Malaysia and Mingguan Malaysia, Utusan Melayu over the publication and printing of defamatory words against him on the front page of Utusan Malaysia on Sept 11, 2009.

The applicants, in their statement of defence, stated that the publication was based on a commentary by Kulim-Bandar Baru member of Parliament, Zulkifli Noordin, in his blog on September 9, 2009.

On September 30, 2011, the Kuala Lumpur High Court allowed Khalid’s civil suit and held that Khalid had proven that he was defamed by the applicants in an article entitled ‘Zulkifli bidas Pak Janggut’ (Zulkifli Admonishes Bearded Man).

On Oct 14 2011, the Kuala Lumpur High Court, after assessing damages, awarded the amount to Khalid.

On May 24, last year, the Court of Appeal dismissed Utusan Melayu’s appeal and allowed Khalid’s application to strike out the same on the grounds that it was incompetent as it had failed to comply with Section 68 (1)(a) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.