KUALA LUMPUR: The proceedings in the suit filed by Damansara Member of Parliament Tony Pua Kiam Wee against Datuk Seri Najib Razak for alleged misfeasance in public office in relation to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) have been suspended until after the former prime minister’s criminal case on 1MDB is completed.
High Court Judge Datuk Rozana Ali Yusof made the decision in chambers today after allowing an application by Najib to suspend the proceedings in the suit. She made the ruling in the presence of lawyer Tan Cheng Leong, who was representing Pua, Nor Emelia Mohd Iszeham, who was representing Najib, and senior federal counsel Habibah Haron, who was representing the Malaysian government.
Tan told reporters the court did not give the full grounds for the ruling because there was no objection from Pua as the plaintiff and the government as the second defendant.
“The application has basis to be allowed because there is a criminal case against Najib (1MDB case in High Court) which involves the same facts as this civil case,” said Tan.
He said the court set July 6 this year for case management to inform the parties concerned on the status of Najib’s criminal case in the High Court.
Habibah, when met by reporters, confirmed the matter.
Pua sued Najib and the government on Jan 16, 2017 for alleged misfeasance in public office over the 1MDB issue and sought general, aggravated and exemplary damages, interest, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.
He claimed that Najib was a public officer since he was the Pekan MP, the prime minister then and chairman of the 1MDB board of advisors, and that in those capacities he had a direct or indirect role in the decisions and direction of 1MDB.
The High Court had struck out Pua’s suit on grounds that Najib was not an officer in public office and hence he could not be sued for alleged misfeasance in public office.
Pua lost his appeal at the Court of Appeal in July 2018 after it upheld the High Court’s decision. He subsequently obtained leave to appeal to the Federal Court.
On Nov 19, 2019, the Federal Court ruled that Najib was a public officer when he was the prime minister and thus could be sued for misfeasance in public office.
The court also ruled that Pua can continue with his suit against Najib and the government at the Civil High Court.