KUALA LUMPUR: The lawsuit filed by 10 Gombak voters against their MP Datuk Seri Azmin Ali over alleged breach of fiduciary duty will go on trial in June after the High Court here dismissed the senior minister’s striking out application.
Justice Akhtar Tahir also dismissed an application by the plaintiffs (the voters) to strike out parts of Azmin’s statement of defence against their suit.
In his decision delivered during an online proceedings on Wednesday (June 30), the judge found the matter needed to be heard via a full hearing as there were triable issues by the plaintiffs.
Lawyer N. Yohendra, who is representing the plaintiffs, confirmed the matter to the press.
He said the judge found it was a triable case by the plaintiffs.
“This means we have to go to trial,” he said.
The trial dates have been fixed for June 7 until June 10 next year.
“Case management date to comply with (court) directions is April 7, 2022,” he added.
The case was fixed for an online hearing Wednesday to hear an application by Azmin, who is the International Trade and Industry Minister, in his bid to strike out the lawsuit as well as another application by the voters who sought to strike out several paragraphs from Azmin’s statement of defence.
In his striking out application dated March 12, Azmin said the lawsuit filed against him did not have a reasonable cause of action and was an embarrassment, frivolous and an abuse of court process.
He also said that the lawsuit was ultra vires to the Federal Constitution and had violated his right to be in an association as provided under Article 10 (1) (c) of the Federal Constitution.
On Nov 27 last year, the group of Gombak voters sued Azmin for alleged deceit and breach of fiduciary duty for leaving the Pakatan Harapan coalition and joining Perikatan Nasional.
The plaintiffs, aged between 37 and 68 years old, named the senior minister as the sole defendant.
In the group’s statement of claim, they said the defendant had breached his fiduciary obligations and duties as a trustee, which were owed to them, by orchestrating, participating, or otherwise being involved in the “Sheraton Move”.
The group stated that on April 27, 2018, the defendant announced on his Facebook page that he would be contesting in the Gombak and Bukit Antarabangsa seats as a member of Pakatan.
They claimed Azmin had made the representations that he would remain as a member of PKR and his primary goal to contest was to ensure that Barisan Nasional, especially Umno, did not form the Federal Government.
“The representations were made by the defendant knowingly in order to induce the plaintiffs to cast their votes for him as the candidate for PKR and Pakatan, ” they claimed.
They said Azmin won the seats but the promised reforms were stalled or backtracked after he orchestrated or took part in the change of government as a result of the “Sheraton Move”.
The group is seeking a declaration that the defendant owed a fiduciary duty in respect to his relationship with his constituents, including the plaintiffs, that he had breached his representations, and that he had committed the tort of deceit against them.
They are also seeking a declaration that the defendant had breached his constitutional oath under Article 59(1) read together with the 6th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
They want damages including aggravated or exemplary damages, interests, costs and other orders deemed fit by the court.