SHAH ALAM: Former Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has filed an application to strike out Puncak Niaga Holdings Berhad’s RM14 billion suit against him, involving the takeover of the Selangor water industry.
Khalid’s lawyer New Sin Yew said the application to strike out the suit was made yesterday on several main grounds.
The suit also implicated current Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and the state government.
In the document, Khalid stated that he strongly believed that the plaintiff’s action against him is based on a tort of misfeasance in public office.
“The plea of the plaintiff is based on this cause of action only. I strongly believe that at all material times I am not a public officer under the relevant laws such as the Government Proceedings Act 1956, Interpretation Act 1967, the Laws of the Constitution of Selangor 1959 (Undang Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Selangor) and the Federal Constitution.
“Therefore, the action of the plaintiff, if it goes to trial, will fail. The statement of claim by the plaintiff did not reveal a reasonable cause of action, it is petty and troublesome and abuses the court process.
“This is because I stopped from being the Selangor Menteri Besar on Sept 23,2014. Should my actions , as said by the plantiff had affected them (which I deny), it could be considered as an execution of public duty.
“Moreover, the plaintiff’s action against me is hindered by a time limit as it is filed more than 36 months after I stopped being Selangor Menteri Besar,” said Khalid in the document.
New also said there is already a sales and purchase agreement entered into between Puncak Niaga and the Selangor state government.
“The point is that the agreement had already been approved by Puncak Niaga’s shareholders.”
Meanwhile, New said judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir has set Jan 23 next year for the decision or clarification on the striking out application filed by Khalid.
New added that Akhtar had also set Feb 12 next year for case management to update the court on the filing of trial documents of the summons against Khalid, Azmin and the Selangor state government.
New said Akhtar had also fixed a three-day trial from March 28.
Puncak Niaga, had on Oct 27, filed the suit against Khalid, Azmin and the Selangor state government claiming up to RM3.91 billion for forcing a takeover of the state’s water industry.
Puncak Niaga is also claiming damages, interest of damages and costs if loss of local and foreign business opportunities totalling RM13.49 billion.
In a filing to Bursa Malaysia on Nov 21, Puncak Niaga said it had served the sealed writ of summons against the state government, Khalid and Azmin for abusing their powers in public office/misfeasance by threatening to cause and/or requesting or attempting to cause the federal government to invoke use of the Water Services Industry Act 2006 to force a takeover of the state’s water industry.
Meanwhile, Khalid said regardless of the court's outcome in the future and if the case is set for trial, he will tell the truth.
"I will state the truth at all times with regards to the Selangor water industry restructuring especially involving Puncak Niaga. At all material times, I had acted in line with the laws and upheld the principles in the Federal Constitution and Selangor state Constitution.
"As I have stressed before, water is an important issue as it is related to the rakyat's fundamental rights. Water cannot be sold and bought like an ordinary commodity. The purpose to rake in extraordinary profit or enriching the personal interest of parties involved should not be the main aim of a ruling government, be it the state or federal," said Khalid in a statement.
He also reminded the current state government that the Selangor water industry restructuring must be carried out transparently and responsibly to ensure that the rakyat will not be burdened by excessive cost.
Khalid also expressed disappointment that the state government has yet to make an open offer to Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor (Splash) or initiate legal action against it so that the restructuring could be implemented for the sake of the people.