KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has ruled that former PKR vice-president Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin (pic) has to pay RM10mil after breaching a bond with the party following her involvement in the Sheraton Move in 2020.
Zuraida was also ordered to pay RM50,000 in costs to PKR.
In his decision, Justice Akhtar Tahir said the bond signed by Zuraida on April 25, 2018, was a valid and binding contract.
On the issue raised by Zuraida that the RM10mil sum was "disproportionate", the court ruled that the defendant's allegation was baseless and an afterthought.
During the trial, the judge said the defendant herself had acknowledged that the plaintiff (PKR) had spent an amount exceeding RM10mil on her candidacy during the election.
"This is a clear admission on the part of the defendant that she cannot retract," Justice Akhtar said here on Friday (June 23).
The judge said the RM10mil was not disproportionate but reasonable to act as a deterrence to prevent party members from acting against the party's interests.
"A lesser sum would not act as such a deterrence," the judge said here on Friday.
In perusing the bond, the court noted that the defendant had promised to pay the sum of RM10mil on the occurrence of three events, including one if she was terminated from the party.
"The court rules the bond is a valid agreement that binds the defendant to pay the RM10mil as promised on her membership being terminated.
"The court allows the plaintiff's claim for the sum of RM10mil against the defendant with the cost of RM50,000 to be paid by the defendant to the plaintiff," Justice Akhtar said.
On Sept 28, 2020, PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail sued Zuraida on behalf of PKR, claiming a breach of bond by Zuraida.
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 included agreeing to pay the party RM10mil no later than seven days upon the occurrence of such events as the resignation of the defendant from the party or joining any other political party, or being an independent elected representative after the defendant won the election on a PKR ticket.
According to the statement of claim, Zuraida, together with 10 other PKR MPs, announced her resignation from the party without resigning from her elected post of Ampang MP on Feb 24, 2020.
He said Zuraida, together with the other MPs, Bersatu, Barisan Nasional, PAS and Gabungan Parti Sarawak and others then formed a new bloc known as Perikatan Nasional.
Zuraida claimed the lawsuit was "an absurd claim to court" and "utterly frivolous".
During the trial, Zuraida told the court that she was forced to sign the bond with PKR in order to contest the 14th General Election on party ticket in 2018.
She said she was given documents a day before the nomination day without explanation on its terms and conditions.
Zuraida had signed a RM10mil bond with the political party of her own free will six years ago, the High Court here heard.
Meanwhile, Saifuddin testified that the bond was a requirement for candidates who were chosen to contest on the party ticket and this was known by Zuraida.
According to Saifuddin, RM10mil was the estimate to safeguard the integrity of the party, its good name and reputation.