KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 – Former Langkawi UMNO member Anina Saadudin has no legal right to initiate a suit against party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and executive secretary Datuk Ab Rauf Yusoh over a RM2.6 billion donation issue, the High Court heard on Tuesday. Lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, representing Najib and Ab Rauf, said Anina was not a public officer of UMNO and, therefore, had no locus standi to file the suit pursuant to Section 9(c) of Societies Act 1966.
“The plaintiff is not a public officer of UMNO who has been declared to (be so) and duly registered by the Registrar of Societies and therefore is not competent to initiate this action against the defendants,” argued Mohd Hafarizam in Najib and Ab Rauf’s application to strike out Anina’s suit.
He also submitted that Anina had no legal standing to maintain the suit since her membership in UMNO had ceased upon filing the suit pursuant to Article 20.7 of the party’s Constitution. Citing a High Court ruling last week that Anina’s termination of membership in UMNO was final and conclusive and could not be challenged in any court according to Section 18C of the same Act, Mohd Hafarizam said: “This court, therefore, has no jurisdiction to hear Anina’s suit which was related to the party’s affairs”.
“This suit also discloses no reasonable cause of action against the defendants, (is) scandalous, frivolous and (an) abuse of court process which ought to be struck out by this court,” submitted Mohd Hafarizam before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab.
Anina’s lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla countered that his client had filed a derivative action against the defendants in the name of UMNO, for and on behalf of UMNO and its members, as allowed in law. Therefore, he said even if her membership in UMNO was terminated, it did not stop the action already filed by Anina. He added that this suit is specifically to address the wrongdoings of the first defendant, as pleaded in the statement of claim.
At this stage, he said it is clear that this is not a plain and obvious case to be summarily struck out. The court set Dec 31 to give its verdict on Najib and Ab Rauf’s application. On Aug 28, Anina filed the suit against Najib and Ab Rauf to, among others, reclaim a portion of the RM2.6 billion (US$650 million) donation that was allegedly deposited by the party president into his personal account in Singapore.