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PKR unable to serve RM10m lawsuit to Zuraida — lawyer

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 28): Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is yet to serve the RM10 million lawsuit to its former vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin (pictured) for allegedly breaching a bond binding her to the party, according to the party’s lead counsel, William Leong.

He said the court was told that the plaintiff was unable to serve the writ of summons at both her office and home address.

"Further case management was fixed on Nov 16," said Leong via WhatsApp after the matter came up for case management before High Court deputy registrar Nor Afidah Idris, which was conducted via e-review yesterday. 

Leong said the plaintiff had sent to Zuraida via registered post to request her to appoint and instruct a firm of solicitors to accept service on her behalf.

"We are now in the process of making appointment with her to accept service. The next case management date is to update the court regarding the progress of the case and to seek for further directions on the pleadings," he said.

The suit was filed by PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail on behalf of the party on Oct 2, claiming that Zuraida, who is also Housing and Local Government Minister, had signed the bond on April 25, 2018, binding her to pay RM10 million to the party as stated in the bond’s terms and conditions.

PKR claimed that Zuraida had agreed to pay the party a sum of RM10 million at the latest seven days, in the event of several incidents, including after winning the election on a PKR ticket, she resigns from the party or joins other political parties or becomes an independent elected representative.

The party claimed that on or around Feb 24, Zuraida, in a statement with 10 PKR Members of Parliament (MPs), announced their resignation from the party without her resigning as Ampang MP, and eventually formed a new bloc known as Perikatan Nasional (PN) with other opposition parties including Barisan Nasional, PAS and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

PKR said that the federal government led by Pakatan Harapan (PH) was then toppled by PN, which saw the defendant being appointed as a minister.

On the same date (Feb 24), PKR claimed that its Central Leadership Council had approved a resolution to strip Zuraida of her party membership with immediate effect and issued a certificate dated July 24 confirming the termination of the membership.

On Aug 7, PKR claimed that it had, through its lawyers, issued a letter of demand requiring Zuraida to pay the sum of RM10 million in accordance with the terms of the bond, but the party claimed that the defendant had failed/refused to pay the amount in total or part thereof.

The plaintiff claimed that it was entitled to seek RM10 million from the defendant because her resignation as a party member but not as the MP for Ampang, the seat which she won on the party's ticket using the party's logo, emblem, flag, services, and support, had deprived the party of the benefits and advantages of having an MP in the Dewan Rakyat and being part of the executive government. 

The plaintiff said that it relied on Section 71 of the Contracts Act 1950 to establish its right to recover the remunerations and benefits amounting to RM2,049,459.20 enjoyed by the defendant having been elected as the party's candidate in the 14th general election as Ampang MP.

As such, the plaintiff is seeking a total of RM12,049,459.20 under Section 71 of the Contracts Act, which comprises RM10 million under the bond and RM2,049,459.20 for the remunerations and benefits the defendant received as an MP and Minister of Housing and Local Government under the PH government, with an interest of five per cent annually, as well as other costs and relief deemed fit by the court.

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