PUTRAJAYA (June 23): Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd’s RM14 billion suit against former Selangor menteri besar (MB) Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim for alleged abuse of power that led to the state’s acquisition of the water utility company will go on trial at the Shah Alam High Court.

This follows the Federal Court today refusing to grant leave for Khalid to pose four questions of law after he was reinstated as a defendant in the suit by the Court of Appeal on Feb 11.

Federal court judge Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat who heard the leave application said that he was mindful that this was an interlocutory application involving the Court of Appeal decision for full trial to be entered, overturning the High Court decision to strike out the suit.

“The question (whether the suit is time barred) has not been decided by the High Court or the Court of Appeal. I accept the leave questions are of general importance.

“However, since neither the High Court or Court of Appeal made a ruling, I feel the threshold of Section 96 (on granting leave) Court of Judicature Act 1964 had not been met. The leave questions posed are mixed with facts and law and need to be properly ventilated in the trial. I am dismissing the motion,” said Ong.

The Federal Court also ordered Khalid to pay RM30,000 costs to Puncak Niaga.

Khalid, who was represented by counsel Edmund Bon, had argued the suit was time barred as the former Guthrie Bhd chief executive officer and former Selangor MB left the post on Sept 23, 2014 while the suit was filed on Oct 27, 2017.

Under the Public Authorities of Protection Act 1948, a claim for misfeasance needs to be filed within three years.

However, Puncak Niaga’s counsel Gopal Sreenevasan said despite Khalid leaving on Sept 23, 2014, the sale and purchase agreement was completed on Oct 10, 2015, while the suit was filed in 2017, showing it met all conditions.

More to come

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