PKR fires off first suit on RM10m defection clause, starts with Zuraida Kamaruddin

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin speaks to reporters after launching her ministry’s community garden pilot project at the Lembah Subang PPR flats in Kuala Lumpur August 15, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Miera Zulyana
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin speaks to reporters after launching her ministry’s community garden pilot project at the Lembah Subang PPR flats in Kuala Lumpur August 15, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has initiated a lawsuit on his party’s behalf against Zuraida Kamaruddin to demand RM10 million from a bond signed in 2018 to safeguard against defections.

PKR treasurer general Lee Chean Chung said the party will also pursue similar legal action against other lawmakers who defected after winning on PKR’s ticket during the 2018 election.

According to Lee, the bond signed ahead of the 2018 general election held that candidates contesting under PKR’s banner acknowledged that this would come at a “substantial” cost to the party.

“She (Zuraida) further acknowledged that the party in granting her use of the party logo and marks has provided her substantial value which exceeds RM10 million.

“Hajah Zuraida Binti Kamaruddin agreed to pay to the party the sum of RM10 million in the event she resigns from the party or joins any other political party or be an independent,” Lee said in a statement.

Aside from Zuraida, other lawmakers who quit the party alongside her include Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Kamaruddin Jaafar, Datuk Mansor Othman, Mohd Rashid Hasnon, Edmund Santhara Kumar Ramanaidu, Ali Biju, Willie Mongin, Muhd Hilman Idham, Muhd Jailani Khamis, Chong Fatt Full.

The group was part of former PKR deputy president Azmin’s so-called ‘cartel’ who defected during the February political crisis and brought down the Pakatan Harapan administration. More have since left the party.

PKR made candidates sign the bond ahead of the 2018 general election to discourage them from leaving the party for rivals.

Today, Lee noted that Zuraida announced on February 24 that she was resigning from the party and that the PKR central committee endorsed the decision to terminate her membership the same day.

He said PKR’s lawyers sent a letter of demand to Zuraida seeking the RM10 million in August, to which she has not responded.

The lawyers filed the lawsuit against her on September 28 but still have not been able to serve this to her, he added.

“The party’s solicitors have on October 1 written to her to appoint a firm of solicitors to accept service on her behalf,” Lee said.

Previously, Azmin flatly rejected paying PKR the RM10 million, saying he would not give any money to a “damaged party”.

Others have also argued that the bond was unenforceable as it would violate their constitutional right to freedom of association.

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