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Halim Saad appeals High Court decision dismissing lawsuit against Dr Mahathir, govt over acquisition of UEM, Renong

Publish date: Tue, 18 Jun 2024, 01:30 PM

PUTRAJAYA, June 18 — Businessman Tan Sri Halim Saad has appealed the High Court’s decision last month to dismiss his lawsuit against the government, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and former Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

The lawsuit pertains to alleged losses he incurred following the government’s 2001 acquisition of shares in Renong Bhd and United Engineers Malaysia Berhad (UEM).

Halim Saad’s lawyer A. Surendra Ananth confirmed the filing of the appeal when contacted by Bernama.

According to the notice of appeal, Halim submitted the appeal on June 11 through his solicitor Messrs Surendra Ananth.

Meanwhile, a June 16 notice by the Court of Appeal notified parties that the court has scheduled Sept 9 for case management of the appeal via e-Review.

On May 9, the High Court allowed the applications by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former finance minister II Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, and the government to strike out the lawsuit filed by the 71-year-old business tycoon.

Judicial Commissioner Dr Suzana Muhamad Said had held that Halim’s suit was time-barred and that its subject matter had been decided in a previous case.

On April 17, 2013, Halim filed a similar lawsuit against Khazanah Nasional, Nor Mohamed, and the government seeking more than RM1.8 billion in damages for selling his shares in Renong.

However, on Oct 31, the same year, the High Court allowed an application by Khazanah Nasional, Nor Mohamed, and the government to strike out the suit on the grounds that Halim had filed the suit after a six-year time frame.

In 2014, Halim lost his appeal in the Court of Appeal. He then failed to reinstate the lawsuit following the Federal Court’s dismissal of his application to obtain leave to commence his appeal in the Federal Court in 2015.

In his statement of claim for the lawsuit against Dr Mahathir, Nor Mohamed, and the government, Halim, the former executive chairman and director of Renong, asserted that he intended to make a general offer to privatise UEM as a subsidiary of Renong, which would have allowed him to gain full control and ownership of UEM.

Halim claimed that he was instructed by Dr Mahathir and Nor Mohamed not to proceed with the general offer because the government wanted to take over all the shares in UEM through a designated entity, namely Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah) or a party to be nominated by Khazanah.

Halim alleged that he was instructed to relinquish his positions as shareholder and director of UEM and Renong, as well as their subsidiaries, requiring him to hand over control of Renong and UEM to the government and sell his Renong shares at a loss.

He claimed that Khazanah had acquired all of UEM’s shares through its subsidiary, Danasaham Sdn Bhd, thereby gaining control over UEM, which at the time owned 32.6 per cent of Renong shares.

Halim is claiming, among others, compensation for the forced takeover by the government between July and October 2001 and a declaration that he is a Renong shareholder.

In their statement of defence, the defendants denied forcibly taking over the shareholding of the two companies. They asserted that the takeover was approved by Halim, who received RM165 million in compensation. — Bernama

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