Wednesday 17 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 22): Businessman Tan Sri Halim Saad has filed an application to refer two constitutional questions to the Federal Court in relation to the bid by the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) to dismiss his lawsuit against the government, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former Cabinet minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

Halim had filed the suit over losses he allegedly suffered arising from the government's compulsory acquisition of his interests in Renong Bhd over two decades ago.

The businessman, represented by lawyer Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, said the AGC’s striking out application raised two key issues: the timeliness of his claim and whether he is legally barred from revisiting these issues due to a previous lawsuit filed in 2003.

“Two important issues have been raised by the AGC in the striking out application. Firstly, whether my claim against the defendants on a breach of my right to equal treatment and right to property under the Federal Constitution is time barred.

“Secondly, whether I am estopped from raising the issue on breaches of fundamental rights by reason of a previous suit filed by me in 2003,” he said in a statement on Friday.

“It is my position that the prior suit (in 2003) dealt with issues that are distinct from my claim although emanating from the same events. My claim which is premised on the breach of my fundamental and constitutional rights by the defendants was never raised in the prior suit,” he added.

Halim contends that his current lawsuit — which alleges violations of his fundamental rights to equal treatment and right to property under the Federal Constitution — is distinct from the earlier case.

“I have been advised by my solicitors that both issues that I am now referring to the Federal Court are of public importance as they seek clarification on the provisions of the Federal Constitution, especially those affecting the fundamental rights of citizens,” he said.

Halim filed his latest suit in August, claiming he suffered losses as a result of the government's compulsory acquisition of his interests in Renong and his loss of right to undertake a takeover of UEM Malaysia Bhd.

The defendants, however, cited the businessman's latest legal action as time-barred, defective, and against the Public Authorities Protection Act 1948.

Under the Limitation Act 1953, those filing actions of contract and tort, and certain other actions, must do so within six years.

Last month, the AGC filed the striking out application, saying the suit is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.

Edited ByS Kanagaraju
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