KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — Caretaker Selangor menteri besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari today gave a 48-hour deadline to his Kedah counterpart, Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, to apologise and pay RM10 million in compensation over alleged defamatory remarks.

In a statement issued tonight, Amirudin said his lawyers had at 7.36pm served his letter of demand on Sanusi, over the latter’s allegedly defamatory remarks in an August 2 speech made in Jitra, Kedah.

Amirudin said Sanusi’s remarks had accused him of, among other things, giving Selangor state land for free to a private company.

Citing his legal letter that was sent to Sanusi, Amirudin said he demanded that Sanusi fulfil three demands within 48 hours, including retracting and apologising over his alleged defamatory remarks.

Amirudin said he also demanded a guarantee from Sanusi to not repeat the allegedly defamatory remarks, and to pay RM10 million as compensation within the same period over the act of defaming and publishing false news affecting the institution of the Selangor menteri besar and the Selangor state government.

“However, if Datuk Seri Sanusi fails to do so, I am forced to continue with legal action through the court process,” Amirudin said in the statement.

In the letter of demand sent by the law firm Haijan Omar & Co and sighted by Malay Mail, Amirudin referred to Sanusi’s August 2 speech during the Jelajah Mega PN Best ‘Sayangi Kedah Sejahtera’ event in Kedah.

Amirudin said the video containing Sanusi’s alleged defamatory remark was made available on TV PAS’ Facebook page and that the video has also been reproduced by the multiple media outlets and individuals on social media, and that PAS party outlet Harakah Daily had also reproduced his words in an article titled “Sanusi dedah skandal Amirudin dengan Vincent Tan”.

Among other things, Amirudin said Sanusi had defamed him by alleging that he had abused his powers in purportedly causing 600 acres of Selangor state land worth RM10 billion to purportedly be given for free to Berjaya Corporation Berhad founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan and his company Berjaya Land Bhd.

Amirudin said the allegations made by Sanusi are false and completely unfounded, saying that the Selangor government’s Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) continues to own the development land in relation to the Selangor Maritime Gateway (SMG) project and that permission was only granted to the joint venture firm — formed by MBI’s subsidiary Landasan Lumayan Sdn Bhd and Berjaya Land Bhd — Landasan Lumayan Berjaya Sdn Bhd (LLBSB).

For the shares in LLBSB, Berjaya Land owns 55 per cent of the shares, while Landasan Lumayan owns 45 per cent of the shares.

Amirudin said only 106.3 acres of land were alienated to the joint venture firm, and that Berjaya Land is required under the joint venture to raise funds to pay the RM113.10 million land premiums for the 106.3 acres of land.

“Accordingly, Vincent Tan and/or any of his related companies, including Berjaya Land Bhd was never awarded or gifted with 600 acres of Selangor state land for free. As such, the Selangor state government did not incur losses of RM180 million as alleged by you,” Amirudin’s lawyers told Sanusi in the legal letter.

Amirudin’s lawyers also said it is untrue that he had lodged a police report against Sanusi and purportedly caused the latter’s arrest by police at 3am, adding that Amirudin has yet to lodge a police report against Sanusi but reserves the right to do so.

Among other things, Amirudin’s lawyers claimed that Sanusi’s alleged defamatory remarks were intended to harm his reputation in his office as Selangor menteri besar, and that the words were politically motivated and intended to cast Amirudin in a bad light ahead of the state elections on August 12.

In the legal letter, a 48-hour deadline was given for Sanusi to publish a retraction of his alleged defamatory remarks and an apology in English, Malay, Chinese newspapers and all his social media accounts; to give a written undertaking or promise not to repeat directly or indirectly the same or similar defamatory remarks; to pay RM10 million as compensation for the “false and malicious allegations” against Amirudin, and to indemnify Amirudin for RM100,000 in legal costs for this matter.

Separately, Berjaya Land on August 4 denied all of Sanusi’s claims as false and defamatory, and gave a detailed point-by-point rebuttal where it said the Selangor state government did not incur RM180 million in losses and that Berjaya Land was never given any land for free but instead had to raise funds to pay the RM113.1 million premium for the land alienated to the joint venture firm.

On August 7, Tan and Berjaya Land said their lawyers had on August 5 served a letter of demand to Sanusi, and that the legal letter had given Sanusi a deadline of by the close of business on August 8 to fulfill several demands.

Tan and Berjaya Land had demanded Sanusi to agree to pay RM200 million as compensation, to remove the alleged defamatory remarks and promise not to repeat the same or similar remarks, and to publish a public apology, stressing that failure to comply with the demands by August 8 would result in legal action being taken.

Tan and Berjaya Land said they had also lodged police reports against Sanusi and three bloggers over the publishing of alleged defamatory remarks relating to the SMG project, which they said could amount to an offence of criminal defamation.