Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and businessman Muhammad Zahid Md Arip were today granted leave by the High Court to proceed with their legal bid in seeking to declassify the Auditor-General's (AG) report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). File pix by Asyraf Hamzah

KUALA LUMPUR: Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and businessman Muhammad Zahid Md Arip were today granted leave by the High Court to proceed with their legal bid in seeking to declassify the Auditor-General's (AG) report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Zahid's lawyer, Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, said the court found that at this (leave) stage, both applicants have met the threshold requirement to be granted leave.

"Whatever issues that have been raised by the chambers are issues that are fit to be delivered further at the substantive stage.

"So on that basis, both applicants were allowed leave to pursue the judicial review," he said after the matter came up for case management in the chambers of judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah.

The court has fixed Feb 15 for case management.

Haniff added that the court found that the two issues raised in the preliminary objection (PO) by the Attorney-General were unclear at this stage.

"AG have raised PO on the basis that purportedly the application had failed at the locus stage and that it was a frivolous and vexatious issue which need not to be reviewed," he said adding that the court decided that the applications could not be struck out at the leave stage.

However, the matter will be argued properly at the substantive stage, Haniff added.

In the judicial review application, Azmin and Zahid had named Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, AG Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, and the Malaysian government as respondents.

Azmin had in the application filed on Aug 15 last year sought a court declaration that there was a conflict of interest on Najib's part, due to the PM's role as 1MDB adviser, when he directed Ambrin to classify the report under the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA).

Azmin, who is also PKR deputy president and Gombak MP, claimed the matter arose because Najib was purportedly linked to the 1MDB issue and it became his (Azmin's) responsibility as a member of parliament to "protect the taxpayers and the citizens of Malaysia".

He is seeking a court declaration that the OSA classification on the report was unlawful and violated the Federal Constitution, and an order to compel the three respondents to declassify the 1MDB final report and release it to the public.

Azmin was represented by counsel Tommy Thomas.

Zahid who used to be 'Tolak Individu Bernama Anwar Ibrahim' (a former non-governmental organisation) or TIBAI spiritual leader also filed the legal bid to make the 1MDB final report publicly accessible.

Zahid, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) supreme leadership council members, used to be PKR Youth vice-chief.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan and Suzana Atan appeared for the respondents.

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