Halim Saad files appeal to revive lawsuit against Mahathir over Renong, UEM share acquisition

Tycoon Tan Sri Halim Saad has filed an appeal to reinstate his lawsuit against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and several others over losses he allegedly suffered following the government’s acquisition of Renong Bhd and United Engineers Malaysia Bhd (UEM) shares 23 years ago.

(NST) – The 70-year-old businessman is appealing against the High Court’s decision to allow Dr Mahathir, former minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, and the government to strike out Halim’s suit on May 14.

The Appellate Court has scheduled the case management for Sept 9.

Judicial Commissioner Dr Suzana Muhamad Said ruled that there was a basis for the limitation of time (statute of limitations). She noted that Halim had filed a similar suit against Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Nor Mohamed, and the government in 2013, which had been disposed of. The issues raised in that case were bound by the principle of res judicata and the limitation of time.

“There is a reason why there is a limitation clause. It is to put a stop to unnecessary actions being taken, especially after a certain period of time. To me, the occasion was in 2001. It has been more than 20 years, and considering the suit filed in 2013, after more than 10 years, only now is this instant case being brought forward to the court,” she ruled.

In his statement of claim, Halim contended that the first and second defendants had acted on behalf of the government and were the primary movers in the compulsory acquisition and deprivation in 2001.

Halim claimed that complying with Dr Mahathir’s directive, as the then prime minister and finance minister, had led him to cede control over Renong and UEM to the government and eventually dispose of his Renong shares at a loss.

He argued that this breached his rights under Articles 8 and 13 of the Federal Constitution. Article 8 stipulates that all persons are equal before the law, while Article 13 states that no person shall be deprived of property except in accordance with the law.

Halim also claimed that three former members of the UEM board of directors met with the first and second defendants to express their opposition to the government’s intervention in the company. They believe that the matter should have been left to the shareholders to decide.

Halim asserted that he was not adequately compensated for the UEM acquisition and the deprivation of his rights as a controlling shareholder of Renong.

He seeks a court declaration that he was the beneficial and legal owner of Renong shares, not Umno Baru, and that the government was obligated to provide him with adequate compensation as per Article 13 of the Federal Constitution.

Additionally, Halim is seeking compensation from the government, as well as exemplary and aggravated damages.