PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Khairuddin Abu Hassan failed to obtain leave to appeal over their tort of misfeasance in public office lawsuit against Prime Minister Najib Razak pertaining to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The 92-year-old former prime minister and Khairuddin, 55, former Batu Kawan Umno vice-chief, had sought leave to appeal in their bid to reinstate their suit which was struck out by the High Court and the decision upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The Federal Court bench, comprising Chief Judge Md Raus Sharif and Federal Court judges Balia Yusof Wahi and Wira Aziah Ali, unanimously dismissed their appeal and ordered them to pay RM20,000 costs.

In his decision, Justice Md Raus, who chaired the bench, said the Federal Court agreed with the interpretation made by the High Court and Court of Appeal that Najib was not a public officer.

He said the matter involved the interpretation of the Federal Constitution and statutes on the meaning of “public officer” in that whether Najib is a public officer.

“Thus this is not a fit and proper case for leave to appeal to be granted under Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964,” he said, adding that the court was of the view that the applicants Mahathir and Khairuddin did not fulfill the requirements of Section 96.

Parties in civil cases must first obtain leave before they can pursue their appeal to the Federal Court.

Meanwhile, Md Raus set April 16 for the hearing of lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla’s application to discharge himself from representing former Langkawi Wanita Umno member Anina Saadudin, 43.

Mohamed Haniff earlier sought to postpone the hearing, saying that he was unable to serve the application (to discharge himself from representing Anina) on Anina.

Md Raus, however, rejected Mohamed Haniff’s application for a postponement of the hearing and also the application for his (Raus) recusal to hear the matter.

Mahathir, Khairuddin and Anina sued Najib on March 23, 2016, accusing him (Najib) of having committed misfeasance in public office and acting in breach of his fiduciary duty over the management of sovereign investment fund 1MDB.

On April 28 last year,  the High Court allowed Najib’s application to strike out the suit, ruling that the prime minister was not a public officer but a member of the administration.

On Aug 30, last year, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal brought by Mahathir, Khairuddin and Anina, prompting them to file an application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court.

During the proceedings, Mohamed Haniff submitted that there were constitutional questions involving the High Court and Court of Appeal’s interpretation in applying the Federal Constitution to interpret “public service”.

However, Najib’s counsel Cecil Abraham submitted that leave to appeal should not be granted because the law was settled on the issues raised by the applicants’ counsel, adding that the applicants’ appeal would not have the prospect of success if the court were to grant leave.–BERNAMA