'I was forced to sign several documents before GE14 nomination' - Zuraida

30 Mar 2023 07:18pm
KUALA LUMPUR - Former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin told the High Court here today that she was forced to sign several documents prepared by the party, a day before the candidate nomination took place for the 14th General Election (GE14).

Zuraida, 65, said the documents were handed over to her to sign without an explanation of the terms or conditions.

"It was an urgent situation at the time and I didn't have the opportunity to properly read or examine the content of the documents I signed.

"I was only told that I had to sign certain documents to allow me to contest under PKR, which made me think that they were just normal documents to permit me to contest using the party's name and I was given no other choice apart from signing the documents prepared by the party.

"At the time, I had signed those documents under duress without being given a real choice, because I wanted to continue to provide my services to the people, especially in the Ampang Parliamentary constituency," she said, adding that she was unsure if she had signed the bond worth RM10 million that tied her to the party, or other documents.

The former minister of housing and local government said this when reading her witness statement at the hearing of the suit filed by PKR against her for allegedly violating the terms of the bond, in front of Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir.

Zuraida, as the defendant, also insisted that she did not sign any documents related to GE14 of her own volition, and would not have signed those documents if given a real choice.

"The same goes for other PKR candidates, they also had no real choice but to sign the documents prepared by the party if they wanted to contest during GE14," she said, adding that the documents related to GE14 were prepared and determined by the party unilaterally.

The politician said it was absurd for PKR to spend RM10 million on her alone during GE14, besides claiming that PKR's claim in the suit was baseless and was a vicious attempt by the party to enrich itself.
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"I have no knowledge of the amount (of money) spent by PKR and I did not receive any money to spend from the party to carry out the campaign during GE14. If I want to talk about the expenses made using my own hard-earned money for the election campaign throughout my involvement under the party, I can state here that the amount is uncountable.

"However, I never considered the matter to be burdensome, because I believed in the party's goals. As far as I can remember, during my time running under PKR, I only once received funds from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR president) amounting to RM10,000, to be used as funds in the General Election campaign in 2008.

"After that, no more money was received from PKR and I had to mobilise the energy and time of my supporters to find funds to campaign, including for GE14. The PKR headquarters also did not have enough money to pay party staff salaries and the management office even contacted me and requested for RM40,000," she said.

On the demand amounting to RM10 million by PKR, Zuraida said it was baseless, extreme and unreasonable.

PKR's statement of claim filed on Sept 28, 2020, said that Zuraida had signed the bond of RM10 million based on the terms and conditions set.

The party claimed that Zuraida had agreed to pay the sum of RM10 million within seven days if several things occurred after a member won the election on a PKR ticket, such as resigning from the party, joining another party, or becoming an independent.

The court set June 23 for a decision.

At the proceedings which took place online, Zuraida was represented by lawyer Muhammad Nizamuddin Abdul Hamid while PKR was represented by lawyer Navpreet Singh. - BERNAMA