Counsel: Bias not issue of law

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 04 Apr 2006

PUTRAJAYA: Metramac Corporation Sdn Bhd’s allegation of bias in the Court of Appeal’s judgment against it does not raise a genuine issue of law, the Federal Court heard yesterday. 

Fawziah Holdings counsel Datuk Dr C.V. Das said this was really Metramac’s complaint over the comments made about certain non-parties in one of the Court of Appeal’s written judgments after it had lost its case. 

“There could be no doubt that Metramac would not allege bias, in spite of the remarks, if the case had gone in its favour,” he said. 

Dr Das said the third parties who were mentioned in the judgement have themselves taken legal steps to address this complaint and it would be a proceeding that would be heard independently and decided on its own merits. 

“Thus it is not sufficient for Metramac to generalise on this factor and say it reflects bias,” he said when urging the court to deny Metramac leave to appeal the Court of Appeal judgment ordering the toll concessionaire to pay RM65mil to construction company Fawziah Holdings for claims arising from signage and advertising agreements between them. 

Last week, Metramac’s counsel Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the Federal Court the adverse remarks made by a Court of Appeal judge about former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin and prominent businessman Tan Sri Halim Saad had tainted the court’s judgement against his client. 

On Jan 12, the Court of Appeal ordered Metramac, the concessionaire of the East-West Link Expressway and Sungai Besi Expressway, to pay RM65mil to Fawziah Holdings Sdn Bhd in compensation for loss of advertising rights. 

The decision received wide coverage when Justice Gopal Sri Ram, in his judgment, remarked that Halim and his business partner Datuk Anuar Othman of Metramac enjoyed the patronage of Daim. 

In his submissions yesterday, Dr Das said that while it was arguable a single judge might reflect prejudice by his comments, it would be odd to say that the judges of an appellate court were likewise prejudiced by some remarks about a non-party made by one of them. 

He further submitted that Metramac counsel Muhammad Shafee was trying to divert the Federal Court’s attention from the facts of the case by not providing a full picture, especially in relation to Syarikat Teratai KG (STKG), which later became Metramac. 

He said that the facts showed that Metro Juara, whose two directors were Halim and Datuk Anuar Othman, rushed to acquire the STKG shares for RM97.5mil despite being advised by its merchant banker CIMB Bhd of the risk involved of not having examined the relevant agreements that had been entered into with STKG. 

Submissions before Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim together with Federal Court Justices P.S. Gill, Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Richard Malanjum and Nik Hashim Nik Ab Rahman continue on Thursday.  

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