PUTRAJAYA: Court of Appeal judge Datuk Azizah Nawawi has recused herself from hearing Datuk Seri Najib Razak's appeal to reinstate his RM1.9 million lawsuit against former attorney-general (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas for alleged misfeasance in public office.

Justice Azizah, who chaired the Court of Appeal three-man bench, said she was minded to recuse herself from the case for the simple reason that her husband was directly under Thomas at that time and on the basis that the case is a public interest matter.

At the onset of today's hearing, she disclosed to parties in the appeal that her husband Datuk Nik Suhaimi Nik Sulaiman was the head of the Appellate and Trial Division in the Attorney-General's Chambers when Thomas was the AG.

She then asked parties whether they are objecting to her presiding over Najib's appeal.

Najib's counsel, Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, after consulting his client, told the court that the former prime minister wished for Justice Azizah to recuse herself from hearing his appeal.

Firoz said the instruction from his client is to object to Justice Azizah hearing the appeal since Thomas is the subject matter of the proceeding.

Lawyer Alan Adrian Gomez, representing Thomas, said they are not objecting to Justice Azizah hearing the appeal as he has not heard of any grounds suggesting there was a real danger of bias if Justice Azizah hears the appeal.

Justice Azizah then ordered a date to be fixed for case management to set the hearing date for the appeal.

The bench, which also comprised Justice Datuk See Mee Chun and Datuk Lim Chong Fong, was supposed to hear Najib's appeal today to reinstate his suit against Thomas. The suit was struck out by the High Court on Nov 25 last year.

Najib sued Thomas claiming that he had been wrongly accused in court in the case of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), abuse of power under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 and money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA 2001).

He claimed that the charges against him were part of a move that had been planned in advance by Thomas and it was also in line with the Pakatan Harapan government's plan at the time.

Thomas was the attorney-general from June 4, 2018, to Feb 28, 2020.

Najib is seeking RM1.9 million in damages and a declaration that Thomas had committed misfeasance in public office, including consultation fees for the audit team to review documentation for preparation of facts to address prosecution against him.

He is also claiming general, exemplary and aggravated damages, interest, costs and other relief deemed appropriate by the court.