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High Court dismisses UMNO, Zahid's bid to stop ex-1MDB subsidiary SRC suit hearing

31 MARCH 2022

KUALA LUMPUR (March 31): The High Court has dismissed a stay application by UMNO and its president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to stop the hearing of a RM16 million lawsuit filed against Umno by 1MDB’s former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd and its two units.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Datuk Mohd Arief Emran Arifin ruled that there were no special circumstances to grant a stay of the hearing pending the disposal of UMNO's appeal at the Court of Appeal, against the High Court's earlier decision in November 2021 to dismiss UMNO's striking out application against the suit and to allow SRC to amend its statement of claim against the party.

Mohd Arief also said the High Court also found the merits of UMNO's appeal irrelevant to UMNO and Ahmad Zahid's stay application and that UMNO's appeal would not be rendered nugatory or no value if the political party files its defence.

As such, Mohd Arief instructed UMNO to file its defence against the suit by SRC and its two units Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd and Jendela Pinggiran Sdn Bhd within 14 days, and that the plaintiffs file their reply within 14 days after UMNO and Ahmad Zahid's defence filings.

Mohd Arief fixed May 9 as the date for the next case management for the lawsuit.

Representing SRC and its subsidiaries are Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership lawyers Syafinaz Vani, Elani Mazlan and Rakkshanaa Samasundaram.

Appearing for UMNO are Shahrul Hamidi & Haziq lawyers Shahrul Fazli Kamarulzaman and Mohamed Baharudeen Mohamed Ariff.

Hearing of UMNO's appeal has been moved to June 14 from March 2 in the Court of Appeal, against the High Court's November 2021 decision to dismiss the political party's application to strike out SRC's RM16 million suit against UMNO.

Hearing of the case at the Court of Appeal has, however, been rescheduled to June 14.

SRC, Gandingan Mentari and Jendela Pinggiran are suing UMNO for RM16 million, which was alleged to have been wrongfully transferred to UMNO by Ahmad Zahid's predecessor and former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The three companies claimed that UMNO knew or ought to have known that the money belonged to SRC and that UMNO had no basis to receive the funds.

In August 2021, UMNO filed the application to strike out the suit as the plaintiffs are said to have filed the legal action outside the limitation period.

UMNO alleged that the plaintiffs had omitted material information when they filed the suit hence there is no reasonable cause of action for the plaintiffs to take legal action against the defendant.

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