By Hafiz Yatim | The Edge Markets
The Court of Appeal today allowed Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd’s appeal to reinstate its RM14 billion case against former Selangor menteri besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and the Selangor government.
The appellate court, however, dismissed the inclusion of another former Selangor menteri besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali as a defendant. Azmin is now the federal minister for international trade and industry.
The company had sued the three parties in November 2017, claiming Khalid and Azmin had abused their powers in public office by threatening to get the federal government to invoke the use of the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (WSIA) to force a takeover of the state’s water industry.
The Selangor government was also sued on the grounds that it was vicariously liable for the acts of Khalid and Azmin.
In February 2018, the Shah Alam High Court struck out the suit against the three defendants.
Today’s decision by the Court of Appeal to partially overrule the High Court judgment was made by a panel led by Justice Datuk Hanipah Farikullah, who sat with Justices Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera and Datuk S Nantha Balan.
“With this, the company’s case against Khalid and the Selangor government would go on trial,” Puncak Niaga’s counsel Razlan Hadri Zulkifli (who appeared with Gopal Sreenevasan) told theedgemarkets.com.
Azmin’s lawyer N Surendran confirmed the outcome when contacted, adding that Puncak Niaga was ordered to pay RM10,000 in costs to the minister.
Khalid was represented by counsel Edmund Bon and New Sin Yew, while Mohd Abdul Hakim Mohd Ali appeared for the Selangor government.
Puncak Niaga, in its suit, is claiming damages, interest on damages and costs of the difference between the value of PNSB Water Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Puncak Niaga (M) Sdn Bhd) and Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) at the range of RM2.08 billion to RM2.35 billion and the actual purchase consideration of RM1.55 billion under the share purchase agreement dated Nov 11, 2014 between Puncak Niaga and Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd.
The group is also claiming for loss of business opportunities, both local and foreign, totalling RM13.5 billion.