Court to decide on Dec 17 over RCI panel's bid to strike out Dr M's suit

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has fixed next month for a decision on whether the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) panel can strike out a suit by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to declare the panel's report on the Bank Negara forex losses as null and void.

Dr Mahathir's counsel Mohammed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said this to reporters after High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Azizah Nawawi heard arguments in chambers on Thursday (Nov 8).

"Arguments were heard today. We are saying that the action has no adverse effect on the plaintiff (Dr Mahathir). After the hearing, the court has deferred its decision to Dec 17," he said.

Mohamed Haniff also said they wrote to the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC), asking whether the AGC agreed not to proceed with the striking out application.

"We are not challenging the findings of the RCI panel. We only asked for the report to be rectified. However, the AGC did not reply to our letter," he said.

Meanwhile, Senior Federal Counsel Mazlifah Ayob who acted for the panel, said among the grounds of their striking out application were that the plaintiff has no cause of action, subject matter in the action was non-justifiable and the suit (originating summons) has become academic.

In the originating summons filed on Dec 19 last year, Dr Mahathir said the report was illegal, incomplete and defective as it lacked proceeding notes, and written and oral submissions through transcription or video recording.

The suit also sought to declare that any reports by any RCIs established under the Commission of Inquiry Act 1950 are only legal and in order if they have all the written statements by the witnesses who testified in the proceedings, the proceeding notes, the submissions, and the findings.

The suit named the panel members Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, Datuk Kamaludin Md Said, Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan, Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon, S.A.K. Pushpanathan, RCI secretary Datuk Dr Yusof Ismail, then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, cabinet ministers, and the Malaysian Government as defendants.

On Oct 13 last year, Mohd Sidek, who was the RCI chairman, presented the RCI findings on Bank Negara Malaysia’s forex trading losses to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V during a meeting.