Teresa Kok sues JMM chief Azwanddin for defamation over temple remarks

Teresa Kok today sued JMM president Azwanddin Hamzah over his alleged defamatory remarks in relation to a land dispute matter involving the Seafield Hindu temple. ― Picture by Azneal Ishak
Teresa Kok today sued JMM president Azwanddin Hamzah over his alleged defamatory remarks in relation to a land dispute matter involving the Seafield Hindu temple. ― Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Seputeh MP Teresa Kok today sued Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) president Datuk Azwanddin Hamzah over his alleged defamatory remarks in relation to a land dispute matter involving the Seafield Hindu temple.

In the lawsuit, the Primary Industries Minister said Azwanddin’s remarks made during a rally last December 25 had purportedly defamed her by falsely painting her as among other things being racist, corrupt, unethical and having abused her power as a minister.

In her statement of claim, Kok said that such descriptions of her are “unjust and baseless” and that Azwanddin’s allegations had incorrectly criminalised her, noting that Azwanddin’s remarks were made despite Kok having already denied her involvement or ties to the company that owned the land.

Azwanddin had allegedly linked Kok to the company involved in the land matter.

But Kok stressed in her statement of claim that she had never abused her powers as a Cabinet minister and a party leader, adding that she was “never involved and has no connection whatsoever with the riots at Seafields Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, Subang Jaya, Selangor”.

Kok claimed that Azwanddin’s remarks were motivated by malicious intentions and were allegedly done to “gain cheap publicity and political mileage”, as well as to allegedly “create chaos and possible physical and other harm” to her.

Kok is seeking damages and compensation from Azwanddin for damaging her reputation and for causing her distress, as well as an injunction to stop the controversial activist from publishing, making or distributing the same or similar defamatory remarks.

The lawsuit today was filed against Azwanddin in both his personal capacity and in his official capacity as JMM president.

Kok’s lawyer Sankara Nair, who said the defamation lawsuit was filed at 6pm today, confirmed to Malay Mail that both JMM and Azwanddin had failed to comply with any of the demands in a legal letter previously.

In the December 26 letter of demand to Azwanddin and JMM, Kok’s lawyers had on her behalf demanded for an immediate removal and retraction of the defamatory remarks, the publishing of a public apology, an undertaking to not repeat the same defamatory remarks, as well as RM30 million as compensation for injuring Kok’s reputation.

Azwanddin and JMM were given a seven-day deadline to provide a satisfactory response to the legal letter to avoid facing a defamation lawsuit.

In her lawsuit filed today, Kok said Azwanddin had ignored and refused to comply with the demands.

The December 25 rally was held to demand justice for the late firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, whose death was linked to injuries allegedly inflicted by a mob during the November 27 riot at the temple.

The rioting at the Seafield temple was said to have been linked to a dispute over the relocation of the temple away from the land that was owned by a private company.

During the rally, Azwanddin had also allegedly called for an attack on a police station, which resulted in a police probe against him for criminal intimidation and for intentionally insulting a person.

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