Ex-BNM manager wins suit for unfair dismissal

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here on Friday (March 29) ruled that the sacking of former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) manager for participating in political activities in 2016 was unlawful.

Judge Datuk Ahmad Bache said this when allowing the legal suit filed by Y. Kohila, 48, as plaintiff against BNM as the defendant in 2018.

In May 2017, BNM served the plaintiff with a show-cause letter regarding her support of a political party and participation in a public gathering organised by the party in 2016.

The court also granted the woman’s declaration that her dismissal as an employee was in breach of her employment contract and fixed April 29 to decide on the assessment of damages and cost.

When reading out his judgment, the judge said the plaintiff was not given the right to be heard, which was a breach of natural justice during a domestic inquiry and subsequent appeal process.

Judge Ahmad pointed out that, due to the unfair and unreasonable acts, Kohila suffered losses and damages.

He also explained that at the (domestic) inquiry, her request to bring witnesses and to be represented by a lawyer of her choice was refused, and documents to prepare her case were denied.

“The refusal put her in a disadvantaged position, and she was unable to file her defence. She was also given limited time to cross-examine the bank’s witnesses,” he said, adding that Kohila was also not allowed to testify and present her version.

The inquiry in May 2017 found her guilty, and the bank’s disciplinary committee decided later to sack her, which the judge said was wrong.

The judge further said that the plaintiff was not invited to be present before the committee to mitigate while the inquiry team and bank official from the human resource department were there.

“Another round of breach of natural justice when she could not make a submission to mitigate before the committee,” he said.

In June 2017, the committee decided to terminate her employment on three counts of misconduct for its 2012 code of ethics.

Kohila, who filed the suit in 2018, was the manager of BNM’s Museum, Art Gallery and Knowledge Management Centre.

Lawyers Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Gokul Radhakrishan, Sarah Ho and KS Bawani acted for Kohila, while Steven Thiru and Janice Teo appeared for the bank. – Bernama