KUALA LUMPUR: The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) today insisted that proceedings be continued to strike out Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lawsuit to nullify the 2017 Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) findings on Bank Negara’s forex losses.
Mahathir’s lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the High Court had heard the bid to strike out the suit by the AGC, which represents five RCI panel members, former prime minister Najib Razak and previous Cabinet members.
“We wrote in earlier to the AGC to see if the AG would agree not to proceed with the striking out application because we are only asking for the report to be rectified. We are not challenging the findings,” he said, adding that the AG had not replied to the request to withdraw the bid until today.
Justice Azizah Nawawi, who heard arguments from Haniff and senior federal counsel Mazlifah Ayod in chambers today, set Dec 17 for a decision on whether to dismiss Mahathir’s suit.
He said the AGC had also argued that the law governing royal commissions, the Commissions of Inquiry Act, barred anyone from taking action against a panel.
“However, we said the panel should exercise their discretion fairly in preparing their findings, and include any documents used in the inquiry,” he added.
Mahathir claimed in his lawsuit that the decision by the five-member panel was null and void as it had excluded the legal documents of witnesses as well as proceedings notes.
He said the RCI report also failed to include written submissions and legal authorities submitted by lawyers after the hearing.
He also claimed the RCI had been formed with ulterior motives as he was with the opposition at the time.
In its report tendered to Parliament last year, the RCI concluded that there were elements of hidden facts and information relating to the forex losses suffered by Bank Negara, and that misleading statements had been given to the Cabinet, Parliament and the public.
The report said Bank Negara suffered a total loss of RM31.5 billion between 1992 and 1994.
The commission proposed that the police open investigations into possible criminal breach of trust or cheating by various parties, including Mahathir and former finance minister Anwar Ibrahim, who served in that capacity from 1991 to 1998.
Special mention was made of ex-Bank Negara adviser Nor Mohamed Yakcop, whom the report named as “principally liable for criminal breach of trust”, while Daim Zainuddin, who was finance minister from 1984 to 1991, was said to have aided and abetted Nor Mohamed.
The RCI, held over nine days from Aug 21 to Sept 19 last year, saw a total of 25 witnesses testifying, including Mahathir, Anwar and Daim.
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