FORMER Ampang MP Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin has been ordered by the Kuala Lumpur High Court to pay RM10 mil in damages to PKR for breaching a bond binding her to the party she signed six years ago.
Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir delivered the verdict against the former Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister today (June 23) during an online proceeding after concluding that the party had proven its case against her.
“The purpose of the bond is to deter members, especially PKR’s elected candidates, from acting against the interests of the party before or after an election.
“A lesser sum will not act as a deterrent,” Akhtar said.
According to the judge, under the conditions of the bond, Zuraida agreed to pay RM10 mil in either of three scenarios, including if PKR revokes her membership or she quits.
“Her contention that she signed it under duress is baseless. The evidence showed she signed the bond with full knowledge of the contents,” Akhtar added.
The party’s counsel Navpreet Singh confirmed the verdict.
“The court allowed the plaintiff’s (PKR) claim seeking for the defendant to pay the party RM10 mil under the bond.
“The court found the bond to be a valid and binding contract. The court was of the view that the RM10 mil was not disproportionate but a reasonable sum to act as a deterrent to party members from acting against the party’s interests; and that any less sum would not be a deterrent.
“A cost of RM50,000 was also awarded in favour of the plaintiff,” Navpreet told reporters.
The lawyer went on to say that once the sealed court ruling is issued, PKR will insist that the former PKR vice-president pay the sum of money immediately.
On behalf of the party, PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail filed the lawsuit in October 2020 through Messrs William Leong & Co claiming that Zuraida had breached the contractual bond by joining Bersatu following the Sheraton Move in late February 2020.
PKR invoked Section 71 of the Contracts Act 1950 to establish its right to compensation from Zuraida’s advantages as Ampang MP and minister.
The former plantation and commodities minister argued in her defence that the bond was “unconstitutional”, and that PKR could not enforce its terms because they violated her freedom of association, as protected by Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.
Zuraida left PKR for Bersatu in 2020 during the Sheraton Move that ushered in a change of administration from Pakatan Harapan (PH) to Perikatan Nasional (PN).
She then left Bersatu in May last year to join the newly-formed Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) but was sacked by the party in December the same year amid a leadership struggle with incumbent president Datuk Larry Sng. – June 23, 2023