Najib filing statement of defence in PKR lawsuit is procedural - Lawyer

Mohd Hafarizam Harun says the instruction by the KL High Court does not connote that evidence of crime are stacked against the Prime Minister.

Najib being instructed to file his defence in the PKR civil suit does not mean that criminal evidence are stacked against him, says Mohd Hafarizam. | Astro Awani
Datuk Seri Najib Razak being called by the Kuala Lumpur High Court to file his defence in the civil suit brought against him and three others by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) for allegedly overspending in their 13th general election campaign, did not mean that evidence of crime were stacked against the Prime Minister.

In a media statement Friday, Mohd Hafarizam Harun, the lawyer representing Najib, said the connotation brought by this case was different than that of a criminal proceeding.

“With respect to the directions given on Thursday by the KL High Court for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to file his defence on or by Oct 1, 2015, it is to be stressed here that it is not a finding of prima facie case of charge, where Datuk Seri Najib has to enter or call upon to put his defence. That is only applicable in a criminal case, which is not the case here.

“In any civil suit, the defendants have the statutory right to response or reply. That is done via a statement of defence which the Court has given Datuk Seri Najib and also three others to file within the stipulated times.

“There is nothing unusual or obscure about this direction since it has been an accepted practice all this while,” said Mohd Hafarizam.

On Friday, another of Najib’s lawyer, Choo Shi Jiu had told reporters that the deputy registrar, Norfauzani Mohd Nordin, of the KL High Court had given instructions that the defendants were also at liberty to file interlocutory applications by Oct 9.

This follows the Court being informed by the defendants of their intention to do so in the near future.

The interlocutory applications, according to Mohd Hafarizam, could include applications to strike out the suit altogether, if the case brought by the plaintiffs is seen as scandalous, frivolous or vexatious.

On Aug 12, PKR had filed the suit against Najib for allegedly violating election laws following an expose by The Wall Street Journal that funds worth US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) had been deposited into his personal account.

The suit also named three others as defendants – Barisan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad and the Election Commission of Malaysia.

The plaintiffs comprises PKR's jailed de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, vice-president Batu MP Tian Chua, former secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and ex-PAS member, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

The suit filed was filed at the KL High Court through lawyer Tommy Thomas.

Election laws limits electoral spending to RM100,000 and RM200,000 for a state and parliamentary candidate respectively.