Zuraida no-show at meeting over RM10mil lawsuit, says PKR lawyer

KUALA LUMPUR: Former PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin did not turn up to a proposed appointment for the political party to serve her with a RM10mil lawsuit over an alleged breach of a bond that bound her to the party.

PKR lawyer William Leong said the High Court has been informed that Zuraida did not appear on their proposed date of appointment for service of cause papers on Nov 9.

"We are now in the midst of contacting her office to fix an appointment date to serve the cause papers to her," he said when contacted.

The case was brought up for case management via e-review before deputy registrar Norhatini Abd Hamid and joined by lawyer Chiew Choon Man for PKR on Monday (Nov 16).

Leong said the court has fixed Dec 3 for further case management.

On Sept 28, PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail filed the suit through the law firm of Messrs William Leong & Co in his suit on behalf of the party and named the 52-year-old Zuraida as the sole defendant.

In the statement of claim, Saifuddin said Zuraida executed a bond where she bound herself to pay the party a sum of RM10mil in accordance with the terms and conditions that had been set.

The conditions of the bond include the defendant agreeing to pay the party RM10mil no later than seven days upon her resignation of the defendant from the party, joining any other political party or being an independent elected representative after the defendant won the election on a PKR ticket.

Saifuddin said that Zuraida and 10 other PKR Mps announced their resignation from the party on Feb 24 and added that Zuraida left the party without resigning from her elected post as the Ampang MP.

He said Zuraida and the other MPs, Parti Pribumi Bersatu, Barisan Nasional, PAS and Gabungan Parti Sarawak and others then formed a new bloc known as Perikatan Nasional.

This caused the Pakatan Harapan government to collapse, allowing Perikatan to take over the reins. Zuraida was appointed a minister in the new government.

On the same day, PKR's leadership approved a resolution to terminate Zuraida's membership in the party with immediate effect.

Saifuddin, in his capacity as the secretary-general, issued a certificate dated July 24 to confirm that Zuraida's party membership has been terminated.

PKR claimed to have issued a letter of demand dated Aug 7 which required Zuraida to pay the RM10mil in accordance with the terms of the bond.

The notice of demand was published in the party's newspaper and portal Suara Keadilan on July 29.

Saifuddin said Zuraida had failed, refused and neglected to pay the sum or any part thereof, and therefore he was entitled to claim the sum on behalf of the party from her.

The plaintiff said he relied on the provisions of Section 71 of the Contracts Act 1950 to establish its right to recover compensation from the defendant.

He further said the defendant enjoyed the benefits of having been elected as the party's candidate and winning the Ampang MP seat and therefore it was unjust for the defendant to retain the benefits without paying compensation for the support she had received.

The plaintiff is seeking for the defendant to pay the party RM10mil under the bond, or alternatively, the sum of RM12,049,459.20 – which is inclusive of RM2,049,459.20 for remuneration received by the defendant as an MP and the Housing and Local Government Minister – under Section 71 of the Act.

The plaintiff is also seeking interests at a rate of 5% per annum from the date of the writ of summons until the full and final settlement, costs and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.

In an immediate statement, Zuraida claimed the lawsuit was "an absurd claim to court" and "utterly frivolous".

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