Petronas’ appeal against High Court Judge’s decision could delay legal proceedings

Petronas Twin Towers, a major tourist attraction — file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, Feb 5: It would be unjust for a stay of court proceedings to be granted to Petronas while it appeals against High Court Judicial Commissioner Christopher Chin’s dismissal to recuse himself.

Informed sources say that Comptroller of State Sales Tax (SST) and State Government held that it was unjust for a stay to be granted in a case of public interest and concern with the recovery of government revenue.

“Such cases should be heard expeditiously. The government feels that Petronas should instead ask the Court of Appeal to hear its appeal on an urgent basis under procedures specially provided in the Rules of the Court of Appeal.

“The state government and the Comptroller objected to the stay or suspension of the proceedings in the civil suit,” sources said.

Chin today heard in chambers an application by Petronas for stay or suspension of further proceedings in the civil suit commenced by the Comptroller and the State Government to recover unpaid SST of RM1,208,100,690.49 from the national oil company.

Petronas wanted the civil suit to be halted because it had lodged an appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decision of Chin not to recuse himself from hearing the case.

Petronas’ application to recuse Chin was dismissed on Jan 23, 2020 with RM50,000 costs awarded to the Comptroller and the State Government.

As Petronas is now appealing against that decision to the Appeal Court, Petronas wants the High Court not to hear two pending applications until the outcome of the Appeal is known.

The two pending applications to be heard by the High Court are firstly, an application by Petronas to refer certain questions of law to the Federal Court for determination under section 84 of Courts of Judicature Act, 1964 and secondly, an application by the Comptroller and Government to determine some questions of law by the High Court so that summary judgment may be entered against Petronas for the sum claimed of RM1,208,100,690.49 with penalty interest and costs.

The High Court has fixed Feb 11, 2020  to give his decision on Petronas’ application and if the stay is refused, he will give directions for the hearing of the two pending applications.

The Comptroller and Government were represented by the State Attorney General (SAG) Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid, State Legal Counsel Datuk Seri JC Fong and other Legal Officers from the SAG Chambers, and Petronas by Datuk Malik Imtaiz Sawar and Alvin Chong. —DayakDaily