Sued for libel by ex-AG, Kit Siang says wrote 1MDB-related article to express own opinion

Lim Kit Siang speaks to the media at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex in this file picture taken on February 24, 2020. —  Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Lim Kit Siang speaks to the media at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex in this file picture taken on February 24, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang told the High Court here today that the article he wrote about the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal was his own opinion and his caution to the government of the day at that time in resting its laurels in combating the menace of corruption.

Lim said the article was written in 2019, consistent with his duty as a responsible Member of Parliament (MP) in raising and highlighting issues not just of real concern to the general public but also in ensuring good governance in accordance with the rule of law by the government of the day.

The Iskandar Puteri MP further said that he knew about the 1MDB scandal as a result of the massive media coverage locally and abroad about notorious events taking place surrounding the 1MDB scandal and these events were reflected in media reports.

“At the material time, the plaintiff (Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali) took office as the Attorney-General (AG) after the summary removal of his predecessor, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail. At the time of his removal, as reported, Abdul Gani was in his capacity as public prosecutor preparing to prefer charges against the former prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in relation to SRC International Sdn Bhd, a company connected to 1MDB.

“As a prime minister, Najib had been instrumental in the removal of Abdul Gani as AG and thus public prosecutor and the consequent appointment of the plaintiff as AG,” he said when reading out his witness statement in the trial of the defamation suit brought Mohamed Apandi against him before judge Datuk Azimah Omar.

Asked by Mohamed Apandi’s counsel M. Visvanathan if Lim were one of the leaders in DAP and if he held a position in the federal government at that time he wrote this article, and if he were a part of the investigation team in the 1MDB scandal, Lim said: “I was not”.

Lim also agreed with the counsel’s suggestion that he wrote the article by virtue of not being a part of any investigating bodies or teams that perused the investigation papers.

When asked if he had actually seen the infamous charge sheets allegedly drafted by Abdul Gani in 2015 against Najib in relation to the SRC International Sdn Bhd company connected to 1MDB, Lim replied, “I did not know”.

On July 5, 2019, Mohamed Apandi sued Lim, claiming that on May 6, 2019, Lim had written and caused to be published an article titled “Dangerous fallacy to think Malaysia’s on the road to integrity” in Malaysiakini.

He claimed that the alleged libellous words in the article implied that he was involved in crime and had abetted in the 1MDB financial scandal, was a person with no morals and integrity, was unethical and had abused his power when he was the AG.

Mohamed Apandi, who was the AG from July 27, 2015, to June 4, 2018, contended that the libellous words were untrue and written with the intention of tarnishing his image and credibility as a former Malaysian AG for cheap publicity.

He is seeking aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as RM10 million in general damages, an injunction to prevent Lim and/or his agents from publishing the alleged defamatory words again and other relief deemed fit by the court.

The hearing before Justice Azimah continues tomorrow. — Bernama

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