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KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — The Kuala Lumpur High Court here today set March 22 to 26 next year to hear Dr Zakir Naik’s two defamation suits against Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy.
The suits were filed separately in October and December 2019 on the allegation that Ramasamy issued defamatory statements involving the independent preacher besides linking Zakir to the LTTE issue.
Judge Datuk Mohd Firuz Jaffril set the trial dates during the case management with lawyers Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader and Meor Hafiz Salehan representing Zakir while lawyer Lee Mei Xian acted on behalf of Ramasamy.
The judge also set October 13 for further case management and both parties to file witness statements before or on March 1 next year.
When met by reporters after the proceedings, Akberdin said one of the suits should have been heard in another court, but was transferred to this court for joint trial as both involved Ramasamy as the defendant.
“A total of five plaintiff witnesses including Dr Zakir will be called to testify,” he said.
On October 16, 2019, Dr Zakir sued Ramasamy for allegedly issuing defamatory statements, which were uploaded on social media sites and news portals between 2016 and 2019.
In the statement of claim, the plaintiff claimed that on April 10, 2016, Ramasamy had defamed him by calling him (Zakir) with an unsavoury name on the defendant’s Facebook page and the defendant also again issued a defamatory statement against the plaintiff on October 1, 2017, where an article about the preacher was published on the Free Malaysia Today (FMT) news portal on the same day.
Zakir also claimed that on August 11, 2019, the defendant had manipulated his speech during an event organised by the Kelantan government and it was also published on the FMT portal on the same day.
Ramasamy, on August 20, 2019, was alleged to have issued defamatory statement against the plaintiff, published by the international media, India Today.
Zakir claimed that these statements had depicted him as a malicious individual and are a threat to the peace and harmony of the country.
Therefore, Zakir is seeking a permanent injunction to restrain the defendant from publishing, distributing, uploading any defamatory statement against him on any medium whatsoever, as well as general, compensatory, aggravated, and exemplary damages, costs on a solicitor and client basis, and any other relief deemed fit by the court.
Zakir filed another suit against Ramasamy in December 2019 over the latter’s comments carried by online news portal The Malaysian Insight regarding the LTTE issues. — Bernama