Najib to file 1MDB defence on June 9

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (left) leaves his office at the parliament in Kuala Lumpur on May 25, 2016.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (left) leaves his office at the parliament in Kuala Lumpur on May 25, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR • The Malaysian High Court has granted Prime Minister Najib Razak a one-week extension to file his defence in a civil suit brought by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two others, the media reported yesterday.

Kuala Lumpur High Court Justice Abu Bakar Jais said he ordered Datuk Seri Najib to file his defence on June 9, from an earlier date of June 2 by which he was to file.

Dr Mahathir and two Umno members who were sacked by Mr Najib's party sued the Prime Minister on March 23 for alleged interference in a government probe into state development fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and a RM2.6 billion (S$877 million) donation received in the latter's accounts.

PM Najib had moved to strike out the lawsuit.

"They have to file the statement of defence... (the court) granted them another 14 days, which is June 9," Dr Mahathir's lead lawyer Mohamad Haniff Khatri Abdulla was quoted as telling reporters by the news website Malay Mail Online.

The other two parties in the suit are Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Ms Anina Saadudin, the two sacked Umno members.

Dr Mahathir, once a mentor of Mr Najib, turned into his nemesis and quit Umno in a public spat over the 1MDB financial scandal.

Justice Abu Bakar said yesterday that a hearing on June 23 will determine if the Prime Minister must personally be in court for cross-examination over his affidavit in support of the application to strike out the lawsuit.

Malaysia's attorney-general in January cleared Mr Najib of wrongdoing in the 1MDB affair. A parliamentary committee made up of opposition and ruling coalition MPs has determined that some US$3.5 billion (S$4.8 billion) was missing from the state fund after being transferred to an offshore company that has since been shut down.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore this week ordered the closure of BSI Bank's operations over anti-money laundering rule violations, as the bank's Swiss parent faces criminal proceedings in Europe in the probe into 1MDB.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2016, with the headline 'Najib to file 1MDB defence on June 9'. Subscribe