Dr M says never sued anyone as PM, due to ‘principle’

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrives at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur February 27, 2018. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrives at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur February 27, 2018. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said when he was prime minister, he had never filed any lawsuit against anyone who hurled false allegations against him, choosing instead to personally clear the air through his actions and by answering the accusations.

Dr Mahathir, who said he had joined politics since 1945, noted that he too, had faced defamatory remarks when he was prime minister and also before his retirement from the post.

“However, my principle is that a leader will face all sorts of accusations by those who intentionally don’t like him. For me, my responsibility then as a leader in government, is to prove to the public regarding my service through correct actions in leading the government.

“My response at all times was not to take legal action in court, but to prove my truth through my work and actions as Prime Minister,” he said in his witness statement that was submitted in court today.

Dr Mahathir was the second and last witness testifying on behalf of his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir in the latter’s defamation lawsuit against ex-DAP leader Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim.

In the same witness statement, Dr Mahathir said he still held on to his principle of not filing defamation lawsuits against people such as Tunku Abdul Aziz, even though he is no longer a prime minister and is aged 92.

Dr Mahathir said this was because he responds to all falsehoods hurled against him through his statements, speeches and replies to the media or his blog posts.

He pointed out that he felt his responses were still heard and accepted by most of  the public although he was not the prime minister anymore, saying that was why he chose not to sue Tunku Abdul Aziz over the alleged defamatory remarks.

Dr Mahathir said he agreed however with Mukhriz’s action in suing for defamation, noting that Mukhriz has yet to be in politics for long and was facing people who wanted to destroy his political career.

“Of course Mukhriz has a right to sue in such matters. Furthermore, the libel was not made when Mukhriz is heading the government, to enable him to rebut the accusations through actions and service while in government,” he added. 

Mukhriz had sued over Tunku Abdul Aziz’s allegation of a secret pact between Dr Mahathir and Lim to make Mukhriz prime minister and the DAP leader the deputy prime minister. This claim was denied by both Mukhriz and Dr Mahathir.

Last February 7, Mukhriz filed a defamation suit against Tunku Abdul Aziz over the latter’s December 30, 2016 statement that alleged such a secret plot, as well as over the latter’s January 3, 2017 statement that demanded a sworn statement from Mukhriz and Lim to deny such a plot.

The hearing before High Court judge Datuk Nordin Hassan will resume this Thursday, with Tunku Abdul Aziz to be cross-examined.