The Kuala Lumpur High Court has directed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor to file their defence within 14 days over a suit filed by A Santamil Selvi, the widow of private investigator P Balasubramaniam.
Justice Hue Siew Kheng made similar orders for the other defendants in the suit, which include two of Najib’s siblings, as well as senior lawyer Cecil Abraham and businessperson Deepak Jaikishian.
This follows Hue dismissing their applications for a stay in filing their defence, pending the hearing of their striking out applications.
This is the first time Najib has been required to file his defence in a suit filed against him.
Besides Santamil’s suit, Najib is faced with numerous pending suits from DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim and Tony Pua, former senator Ezam Mohd Noor, as well as a pending appeal by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Anina Saadudin and Khairuddin Abu Hassan.
Hue ruled that there were no special circumstances shown by the defendants for the court to grant the stay.
She also said that granting the stay may have prevented Santamil and her children from exercising their fundamental rights.
Santamil Selvi (photo) and her three children were represented by Gopal Sri Ram, Americk Singh Sidhu and Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar.
The widow filed the suit on Aug 1, claiming injury and loss of income, following the family’s exile to India in 2008 after Balasubramaniam’s second statutory declaration over the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu.
Besides naming Najib and Rosmah, Cecil and Deepak, the others named included two of Najib’s siblings – Ahmad Johari and Nazim, Cecil’s son Sunil, commissioner of oaths Zainal Abidin Muhayat and lawyer M Arulampalam, who held the second press conference on the second statutory declaration.
Deepak discharges Shafee
Reporters were also informed by counsels that Deepak had written to Justice Hue earlier to inform that he is discharging senior lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah from representing him.
Deepak also wrote in to withdraw the striking out of the application and stay.
This means that if the eight defendants manage to strike out the suit, Santamil Selvi’s claim would stand against Deepak, said Americk.
It was previously reported that Santamil Selvi had exhausted her claim against the same defendants two years ago, after the High Court struck out her claim of conspiracy, and the Federal Court upheld the decision.
Following this, the family claimed that Rosmah summoned Deepak to Sri Satria – Najib’s official residence at the time – for talks on the statutory declaration.
This is said to have led to the second statutory declaration being made a day after, the retraction of the first, and subsequently the family’s exile.
Following today’s decision, Justice Hue fixed Nov 1 as the case management for the court to decide on hearing dates for the striking out of the application.