Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Malaysia's courts accept PM Najib's argument that he is not a servant of the Agong: Najib,Cabinet ,now outside the protection of sovereign immunity

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Image result for najib razak agong
PM Najib has succesfully argued before the courts that he ,his deputy Zahid Hamidi, and his cabinet, are not servants of the monarch, currently Sultan Muhammad V

The High Court and now Court Of Appeal have agreed that Malaysian PM Najib Razak is not a public official , even if he but only a member of the administration.
The decision may have consequences for all and any of the privileges that PM Najib enjoys as a
public official,including the right to sovereign immunity even when on official duties.

In a constitutional monarchy such as Malaysia public officials enjoy a degree of immunity
while undertaking duties on behalf of  the monarch (hence OHMS,or in Malay, Urusan Seri Paduka Baginda). Najib, and presumably his entire cabinet ,now declared not to be public officials, are therefore  outside the privileges and protection that  comes from being public officials.

Consequently any claims to sovereign immunity are also likely to have be lost. The prime minister is not a personal representative of the monarch (as say,diplomats are) ,and is provided immunity only by virtue of being a public official ie an official of the monarch who does the monarch's work among his people.


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 ― The Court of Appeal upheld today a previous court ruling that the prime minister is not a public officer and struck out a bid to sue the incumbent Datuk Seri Najib Razak for alleged power abuse.

In its unanimous decision, a three-judge panel chaired by Tan Sri Idrus Harun said it agreed with the High Court’s April 28 ruling to dismiss a suit by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two other former Umno members: Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Anina Saadudin against Najib, news portal Malaysiakini reported.
The High Court had said that a member of the administration cannot be considered a public official even though he holds public office.
“We agree with the learned judge’s decision. There is no merit in the appeal. We affirm the decision of the High Court,” Idrus was quoted saying.
According to the report, the two other judges on the Court of Appeal panel were Datuk Vernon Ong and Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli.
Dr Mahathir ― now chairman of the Pakatan Harapan Opposition pact ― as well as Khairuddin and Anina had filed a lawsuit last year accusing Najib of committing misfeasance in public office and acting in breach of his fiduciary duty over the management of sovereign investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who represented the three applicants, was reported saying his clients will appeal today’s decision with the Federal Court.


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