KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — DAP’s Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh will be filing a fresh defamation suit against former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan over his remarks in a January 2020 forum, after the defamation suit she had already filed was struck out over technical matters.
Earlier today in a case management, High Court judge Rozana Ali Yusoff had struck out the lawsuit due to technicalities involving the filing of certain pre-trial documents and with no order as to costs, but with Yeoh given the liberty to refile the defamation lawsuit.
When contacted, Yeoh’s lawyer Lim Wei Jiet clarified that the striking out of the defamation lawsuit was purely on technical reasons.
“The case was struck out but only on a technicality — and we are allowed to file afresh, so there really is no prejudice to the parties.
“It does not in any way mean Musa Hassan has succeeded against Hannah Yeoh in any way whatsoever in the defamation suit,” he said.
Lim explained that Yeoh’s legal team was unable to file the documents in court, due to issues with obtaining the required consent from Musa’s lawyer.
“The reason we could not file some documents was that we needed the consent of the defendant's lawyer, and even though these documents were sent in advance beforehand there was no consent forthcoming from the defendant.
“And the defendant's lawyer in charge had some personal emergency the last few days, which made it even more difficult for consent to be obtained. Unfortunately, the judge did not accept such an explanation and decided the way it did,” he said.
Lim however said that Yeoh would still continue with suing Musa for defamation in court.
“We have instructions to file the matter afresh as soon as possible, and will still proceed with the defamation case against Musa Hassan,” he said.
On July 3, 2020, Yeoh filed the defamation lawsuit against Musa, over his remarks as a speaker at a January 30, 2020 forum held at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) where he had accused Yeoh of writing a book to turn the country into a Christian nation.
Yeoh’s autobiography Becoming Hannah had been published since 2014.
At the time of Musa’s remarks in 2020, Yeoh was also the deputy women, family and community development minister. Musa was then a former IGP, having retired in 2010.
In her statement of claim, Yeoh had said Musa’s statements were defamatory and malicious as they were untrue and premeditated and made in bad faith to tarnish her reputation, and also intended to harm her politically.
Yeoh said Musa had also failed to withdraw the remarks he had made and to issue an apology as demanded through her lawyers.
In her lawsuit, she sought compensation in the form of general damages, aggravated damages, exemplary damages as well as an injunction to stop Musa from saying or publishing the defamatory remarks or similar words against her.
On September 14, 2020, Musa filed an application to strike out Yeoh’s defamation lawsuit, claiming among other things that the lawsuit had failed to show a reasonable cause of action against him.
On February 26 this year, the High Court dismissed Musa’s application to strike out the lawsuit and decided that the court case should proceed as it found Yeoh has a reasonable cause of action that has to be proved in full proceedings.
The actual defamation lawsuit has yet to be heard prior to the striking out of the lawsuit on technicalities.
Hours after the lawsuit was struck out, Lim told Malay Mail that the fresh defamation lawsuit by Yeoh against Musa had been filed.