The Court of Appeal on Tuesday (June 14) dismissed an appeal by central Umno to strike out a RM16 million suit filed by SRC International Sdn Bhd and its two subsidiaries Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd and Jendela Pinggiran Sdn Bhd.
Justice Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail — who led the bench in unanimously upholding the High Court decision for the matter to proceed for trial — ruled that this was not a plain and obvious case for Umno to apply to strike out as there are various issues that can only be determined after a full trial.
Besides Justice Hadhariah, the other judges on the bench were Justices Datuk Abu Bakar Jais and Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya.
SRC, along with Gandingan Mentari and Jendela Pinggiran, filed the suit in May 2021 — where it named Umno and its organising secretary Datuk Mohd Sumali Redhuan — to recover the funds that were transferred to the Malay nationalist party via its then president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The RM16 million is said to be part of RM250 million that dissipated from SRC as it was disguised as being for corporate social responsibility (CSR) purposes and transferred to various individuals, organisations and third parties.
The suit by SRC and two others against Umno is one of the 16 suits filed by SRC against various recipients of the said funds paid by Najib.
Umno, represented by counsel Mohamad Shahrul Fazli Kamarulzaman, argued on Tuesday that SRC’s claim was time-barred as the transfer occurred on April 8, 2015. It also claimed that there was no reasonable cause of action.
SRC counsel Nur Syafinaz Vani Abdullah replied that the suit cannot summarily be struck out as the cause of action was accrued due to a well-orchestrated scheme to wrongfully dissipate the company’s funds for CSR purposes.
“There are triable issues that can only be determined after a full trial,” Nur Syafinaz from Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership argued.
Usually in civil suits, a claim has to be filed within six years, as filing it after that period is considered as time-barred.
Last November, High Court Judicial Commissioner Quay Chew Soon dismissed Umno’s application to strike out the suit.
Umno fails to strike out RM16m SRC suit