KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — Former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin claimed that the statements he made regarding Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi asking for his help to intervene in the former deputy prime minister’s court cases were true and not defamatory.

Muhyiddin, 74, in his statement of defence filed on May 9, claimed that the statements he made during the 15th Johor state election campaign in Mersing at the compound of the Sentuhan Kasih Felda Tenggaroh Learning Centre 3 on February 16 were mostly justified as true and fair comments as well as of public interest.

According to Muhyiddin, he has no control and is not responsible for any publication made by Astro Awani on its YouTube channel as well as KiniTV, Malaysiakini, Utusan Malaysia or any other online news portals.

“There was no malicious intent on my part in making the statement. In particular, I deny that the publication was made with the intention of tarnishing the reputation of the plaintiff (Ahmad Zahid) in public,” Muhyiddin claimed.

In the suit filed on April 4, the Bagan Datuk MP is seeking an ex-parte injunction for Muhyiddin or his representative to withdraw the defamatory statements or similar defamatory statements against him.

Ahmad Zahid, 69, also applied for an interim injunction to restrain the defendant, his officers and assistants as well as his agents and representatives from issuing, publishing, distributing or disseminating such a defamatory statement on any social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp.

He also applied for an interim injunction for the defendant to delete, edit and stop the publication of part of the video footage which contained the defamatory statement in online news portals and social media including the Perikatan Nasional Facebook page, Astro Awani YouTube channel and KiniTV.

He claimed that Muhyiddin’s statement implied that he had used a shortcut to settle and postpone his ongoing court cases, that he had asked for Muhyiddin’s help to intervene in the court cases and the judiciary system, to order the dissolution of the Johor State Assembly and also implied that he was not a respectable and exemplary leader.

Ahmad Zahid claimed that the allegations were false and aimed at tarnishing his good name and reputation, and that they were made by the defendant after the Election Commission’s announcement on the Johor state election.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer Shahrul Fazli Kamarulzaman, when contacted, said the case management was set for May 25. — Bernama