PUTRAJAYA, Jan 17 — The Court of Appeal has fixed February 7 to deliver its decision on Khairy Jamaluddin’s appeal to challenge Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s defamation suit over a statement of immoral character filed against him, 14 years ago.

The date was fixed by a three-member panel comprising Judges Datuk Lee Swee Seng, Datuk Darryl Goon Siew Chye and Datuk Ghazali Cha in a virtual proceeding today.

“Thank you to both parties for the written submissions which were provided to this court and also for oral submissions. We would require some time to deliberate on the matter. We fixed February 7 for decision,” said Justice Lee after hearing lengthy submissions from Khairy’s counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, representing Anwar.

The panel of judges also fixed January 24 for both parties to file written submissions for costs.

On March 7, 2008, Anwar, who is PKR president, sued Khairy, who was then Youth and Sports Minister and Umno Youth vice-chief, for allegedly uttering defamatory words about him during a ceramah at Lembah Pantai on February 20 the same year which led to the posting of a video clip titled “Anwar and kin no threat” on news portals.

In September 2017, High Court judge Azizul Azmi Adnan allowed Anwar’s suit against Khairy and found Khairy liable for defamation and therefore ordered Khairy to pay RM150,000 in general damages to Anwar.

The judge also dismissed Khairy’s application to amend his statement of defence to say that his remark was a fair comment.

Khairy subsequently filed the appeal against the High Court ruling but in February 2018, the Court of Appeal struck it out after allowing Anwar’s counsel’s application to annul the notice of appeal.

On December 15, 2020, the Federal Court allowed Khairy’s appeal for his case to be reheard on its full merits at the Court of Appeal.

Earlier, Sri Ram submitted that the words uttered by the appellant (Khairy) carried a defamatory meaning to Anwar.

“In this regard, it is pertinent to remember that the words or statement complained by Anwar are that: ‘Anwar main dua-dua ikut belakang’.

“In the plain and ordinary meaning of the Malay language as understood by ordinary and reasonable Malaysian (whether he is a Malay or not) the words refer to only one act that is, in the context of which the words were said or uttered, the act of homosexuality,” Sri Ram said.

He further submitted that the claim by Anwar, in this case, was only related to one charge that is Anwar is said to be homosexual or possesses to indulge in such activities.

Muhammad Shafee in the proceedings on November 2, said that the speech made by Khairy during the 12th General Election campaign in 2008 was referred to the merger or cooperation between the opposition parties for the election and not linked to Anwar’s sodomy case.

The lawyer further submitted that his client was talking about the merger or cooperation between the opposition parties, namely PAS, PKR and DAP for the pure purposes of the election. — Bernama