Najib Is Not A Public Officer So He Can't Be Sued Over 1MDB, Says Lawyer

Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two others are suing Najib for his alleged abuse of power pertaining to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)'s funds.

Cover image via BBC

Lawyers representing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has applied to strike out an abuse of power lawsuit filed by his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two others

Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun.

Image via Berita Harian

In his defence, Najib's lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun said yesterday, 20 February, that the defence team has said that Najib is not a public officer in his capacity as the Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

Mohd Hafarizam argued that Malaysian law clearly stated that Najib is a not a public officer under the definitions laid out in the Federal Constitution and the Interpretation Act

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Image via Forbes

“The defendant is not a public officer who will satisfy the first ingredient for misfeasance, which is the person must be a public officer in public office to justify the claim,” he said as quoted by The Star.

The legal team has explained to the judge that Najib is a member of the administration and that Article 160 (2) of the Federal Constitution excluded members of administration from being in the public service.

Furthermore, he commented that the plaintiffs were confusing the two distinct and separate concepts of "public servant and "public officer"

"Tan Sri Cecil - the lead counsel of the defence team - argued that Article 160 (2) of the Federal Constitution excluded members of the administration in the public services. Who are members of the administration?

They are ministers, deputy ministers, political secretaries and therefore includes the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister," said Mohd Hafarizam as quoted by The Malay Mail Online.

Tam Sri Cecil has completed its submission before Judge Abu Bakar Jais.

Meanwhile, the plaintiffs' lead counsel Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdullah, said his clients have an arguable case because it was sufficient to show losses suffered by citizens due to the acts of Najib allegedly for his interest

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Image via Vulcan Post

In the lawsuit that was filed last March, Dr Mahathir, former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chief Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan, and former Langkawi Wanita Umno member Anina Saadudin, wants Najib to pay RM42 milion in aggravated damages and RM2.6 billion in exemplary damages to the Government.

The plaintiffs have claimed that Najib had acted to compromise the ­va­ri­­­ous respective institutions involved in probing issues related to 1Malay­sia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Still can't figure out this whole 1MDB debacle? These easy-to-digest videos from WSJ might help:

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