SHAH ALAM – Former Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has filed an application to strike out Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd’s lawsuit against him over the takeover of its water asset by the state, at the case management of the suit today.

When met at the courtroom here, Khalid’s lawyer New Sin Yew told reporters that Khalid had filed the application on Monday (Nov 27).

In the application, Khalid said he believed that the plaintiff’s claim is based on a tort of misfeasance in public office. He believed that at all material time, he is not a public officer under the relevant laws like the Government Proceedings Act 1956, Interpretation Acts 1948 & 1967, The Laws of the Constitution of Selangor 1959 and the Federal Constitution.

“Hence, the plaintiff’s action, even if it’s trialled, will fail,” said Khalid in his application sighted by reporters.

According to the document, Khalid had resigned as Selangor mentri besar on Sept 23, 2014.

“If my actions have affected the plaintiff (which is denied), it can be considered as an execution of public duty or authority or written law. Because of that, the plaintiff’s action towards me has been blocked by the time limit because it was filed more than 36 months after I resigned as Selangor mentri besar.”

Besides, Khalid stated that the plaintiff is at all times bound by the terms of the sale and purchase agreement (SPA) that was pleaded in the Statement of Claim.

“I’m not a party to the SPA and I’m not privy to the SPA. I believe the plaintiff cannot use this action to avoid its responsibility under the SPA. The plaintiff did not claim that the SPA be avoided or voided under the Contracts Act 1950.
None of the pleading in the Statement of Claim reveal any situation that can be raised by the plaintiff to cancel the SPA based on duress or other matters under the Contracts Act 1950.”

Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir fixed Dec 12 for Puncak Niaga to file an affidavit in reply and Jan 23, 2018 for the decision or clarification of Khalid’s striking out application. He directed the parties to attempt mediation in January 2018. He also fixed Feb 12, 2018 for pre-trial case management and March 28-30, 2018 for trial.

Puncak Niaga had filed a RM14 billion lawsuit against Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Khalid and the state government over the takeover of the state’s water industry. Only Khalid has filed a striking out application so far.

It was reported that Azmin and the state government will also file an application to strike out Puncak Niaga’s lawsuit. Azmin was reported to have instructed his lawyers, who are representing him and the state government, to file the application.

Puncak Niaga claims Khalid and Azmin had abused their powers by threatening to cause, or attempting to cause, the federal government to invoke the use of the Water Services Industry Act 2006 to force a takeover of the state’s water industry. It said the Selangor government is vicariously liable for the acts of Khalid and Azmin.

In 2014, the Selangor state government and the federal government signed an agreement which would see the state government take over four water concessionaires operating in the state, namely Puncak Niaga, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash).

The state government has already taken over water assets belonging to the three companies, except for Splash.

Puncak Niaga’s share price closed unchanged at 66.5 sen today, with 55,200 shares traded.

– Sundaily