PM, govt apply to quash Pulau Batu Puteh suit

01 Mar 2022 06:23pm
Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex - BERNAMA
Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex - BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysian Prime Minister and the government have applied to strike out a suit filed by an individual in connection with the withdrawal of a review application over the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) decision on the Pulau Batu Puteh claim.

Senior federal counsel (SFC) Ahmad Hanir Hambaly, representing the Prime Minister and the government, said the application was filed at the High Court here yesterday (Feb 28).

The court has set March 15 for further case management, he said when contacted after the case management, which was held online before Assistant Registrar Haslinda A. Raof, today.

Lawyer Mohaji Selamat, representing Mohd Hatta Sanuri, who is the plaintiff, when contacted said his client had filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal against the High Court's decision made on Jan 31, in allowing the application by the Prime Minister and the government for documents in the suit on the withdrawal of the review application over the ICJ’s decision on Pulau Batu Puteh claim to not be disclosed to parties not involved in the case.

Based on the notice of application, the defendants had sought an order that all materials and documents presented as exhibits in any interlocutory application and trial of the suit may only be disclosed to parties in the case, counsel representing the plaintiff and defendants, trial witnesses, as well as parties deemed necessary by the court.

They also sought an order to ensure the confidential documents are not categorised as public and cannot be opened for inspection or to be copied in any form, including for online inspection by e-filing other than requesting that the proceedings and trial of the case be conducted behind closed doors.

The application was made on the grounds, among others, the documents and information to be disclosed in the suit had the status of classified documents and top secret status under the Official Secrets Act 1972.

In 2018, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government under the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad withdrew an application to overturn ICJ’s ruling awarding legal jurisdiction of Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore before the case was scheduled to be heard on June 11, 2018.

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Mohd Hatta, 45, filed the suit on May 28 last year on his behalf and on behalf of the more than 32 million Malaysians affected by the withdrawal of the review application, which was made without discussing and tabling it first in Parliament.

In his statement of claim, Mohd Hatta sought an order for the defendants to provide a written explanation as to why they had withdrawn from the review of the ICJ's decision on June 1, 2018, when a review application with a review application with strong evidence had been initiated and filed since Feb 3, 2017.

The plaintiff also sought a declaration that the defendants were negligent, committed treason, fraud and breach of trust against all Malaysians, including the plaintiff when they dropped the review bid.

He also sought a declaration for the two defendants to pay compensation to each Malaysian based on the land value of Pulau Batu Puteh and based on the economic losses suffered by all Malaysians including the plaintiff, equally, amounting to at least RM10 million each.

An order was also sought for both defendants to disclose in detail the total cost incurred by the second defendant (government) for the preparation of the ICJ decision review application on Feb 3, 2017, until the defendants abruptly withdrew the application on June 1, 2018. - BERNAMA