KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — The High Court here today dismissed Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s application to prevent the re-publication and dissemination of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's statements which was alleged to have defamed the former deputy prime minister.

Lawyer, Shahrul Fazli Kamarulzaman, representing Ahmad Zahid, when contacted, said Judge Datuk Rozana Ali Yusoff the application by the Umno president to obtain an interim injunction on the grounds that the issues raised by the plaintiff and defendant needed to be decided through a trial.

Dr Mahathir’s lawyer, Mior Nor Haidir Suhaimi, meanwhile, said the court dismissed the plaintiff's application after ruling that this was not the stage for the parties to argue on the merits of the case.

“The court is of the opinion that the plaintiff (Ahmad Zahid) needs to prove that the statements made by Tun Dr Mahathir are not true. Therefore, the interim application was dismissed at a cost of RM5,000 with case management set for Aug 23," said Mior Nor Haidir when contacted after the proceedings of the case which took place via video conference.

On April 20, Ahmad Zahid, 69, filed a defamation suit against Dr Mahathir over allegations that he used his position to influence the latter to interfere in his ongoing court proceedings.

In his statement of claim, Ahmad Zahid said on Oct 19, 2018, he was charged in the Sessions Court here, with 12 charges involving breach of trust, eight charges of corruption and 27 charges of money laundering with all charges tried in the High Court.

Ahmad Zahid claimed that Dr Mahathir had issued defamatory statements with malicious intent against him at the Parti Pejuang (Pejuang) Aspirasi launch event in conjunction with the 15th Johor State Election at Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana, Putrajaya on Feb 23.

The Bagan Datuk MP claimed that the defamatory statements meant that he was a person who used shortcuts to resolve and postpone the trial of his ongoing criminal case, and used his position to influence Dr Mahathir to interfere in the criminal trial and investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies against him.

Ahmad Zahid also filed an interim injunction application so that the defendant, either personally, or his officers and representatives retract the defamatory statements and prevent them from publishing, distributing or disseminating the statements or similar defamatory statements on any social media platform.

The interim injunction order was also sought to order the defendants to delete, edit and stop the publication parts of the video recording of the event which contained defamatory statements on Youtube and Astro Awani’s Facebook as well as MalaysiaGazette TV’s TikTok account.

In addition, the plaintiff also applied for an interim injunction order directing the defendant to write to any publisher, editor, operator and owner of online news portals or social media platforms to stop publishing the defamatory statements. — Bernama