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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak confirmed today that he had directed his lawyers to send a letter to Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik demanding that he apologise for issuing allegedly defamatory remarks over the weekend.
In a brief update on his Facebook page, the prime minister said if Dr Ling fails to apologise, he will proceed with legal action against the former MCA president.
“I have ordered my lawyers to send a legal letter to Tun Ling Liong Sik to get an apology from him over recent defamatory remarks he made.
“If upon seven days of receiving the letter Tun Ling does not apologise, I will take legal action,” Najib wrote.
Earlier this afternoon, a lawyer representing Najib confirmed that Dr Ling’s wife Toh Puan Ong Ee Nah had yesterday acknowledged receipt of the legal letter.
The lawyer, Nor Emelia Mohd Iszeham, also confirmed that there was “no reply yet” from the former MCA president to her client’s letter.
In the letter from the Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak law firm that represents Najib, the prime minister accused Dr Ling of defamation in remarks by the latter published in a news report on Saturday.
The article in question was one titled “MCA’s Liong Sik joins call for Najib’s ouster for allegedly putting people’s money in his own pocket” published by Malay Mail Online during the weekend.
In it, Dr Ling reportedly expressed agreement with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s demand for Najib to resign and claimed the prime minister “has taken people’s money and put it in his own personal accounts.”
The 72-year-old also spoke out about his participation in the Perth edition of the Bersih 4 rally last August, organised by electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 to push for Najib’s resignation from office.
MCA has since distanced itself from Ling’s remarks, with secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan categorising the statement as the former party president’s personal opinion.
Najib has been implicated in corruption investigations into 1MDB after US-based Wall Street Journal reported in July some US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) was funnelled through several entities linked to the state-owned firm into the prime minister’s personal bank accounts two months before the tumultuous May 5, 2013 general elections.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has since announced that the money deposited into Najib’s accounts was a donation from a Middle Eastern source and has said last month that investigations on the RM2.6 billion is still ongoing.
Najib had previously said that he had not taken any public funds for personal gain.