SHAH ALAM – Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali has filed a counterclaim against Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd alleging that the company’s lawsuit is an abuse of process.
Azmin is claiming general damages, interest and costs, according to Puncak Niaga’s filing with the stock exchange today.
Last month, Puncak Niaga filed a RM14 billion lawsuit against Azmin, his predecessor Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and the Selangor state government over the forced takeover of its water assets.
Azmin was previously expected to file an application to strike out Puncak Niaga’s lawsuit. At the case management of the Selangor government’s application to strike out Puncak Niaga’s suit today, judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir, in chambers, made directions for the filing of pleadings, the exchange of affidavits and submissions.
He fixed Jan 23, 2018 for the delivery of his decision of the Selangor government’s application to strike out the suit. Khalid’s application to strike out Puncak Niaga’s suit is also fixed for decision on the same day.
The Selangor government’s sealed strike-out application together with the affidavit in support was served on Puncak Niaga’s solicitors on Tuesday (Dec 19). Khalid had filed his strike-out application on Nov 27, 2017. Both Khalid and Azmin have filed and served their respective defences.
Akhtar had previously directed the parties to attempt mediation in January 2018. He fixed Feb 12, 2018 for pretrial case management and March 28-30, 2018 for trial.
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 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, Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash).
The state government has taken over water assets belonging to the three companies, except for Splash.
Puncak Niaga shares were unchanged at 62 sen today, with 139,000 traded.