KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari today filed a defamation lawsuit against Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor over the latter’s August 2 remarks on Selangor and Berjaya Corporation Berhad founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan.
In his defamation suit filed at the Shah Alam High Court at noon today, Amirudin is seeking for the court to order Sanusi to pay compensation in the form of general damages, aggravated damages, exemplary damages for the alleged defamation.
Amirudin is also seeking for an injunction or a court order to stop Sanusi from repeating the same defamatory statements.
When asked, Amirudin’s lawyer Mohd Haijan Omar told Malay Mail that the court papers for the defamation lawsuit have been served on the law firm representing Sanusi, Messrs Faizi & Associates.
Haijan said the defamation lawsuit is scheduled for case management at the High Court on October 3.
Previously on August 9, Amirudin had issued a letter of demand dated August 8 to Sanusi, giving the latter a 48-hour deadline to apologise and pay RM10 million as compensation over the defamatory remarks. Amirudin had said failure to comply with the demands would result in legal action being taken in the courts.
But in the court papers filed today, Amirudin said Sanusi has so far failed, refused or neglected to comply with the demands to publish an apology and to retract the defamatory remarks.
Amirudin, who is also Sungai Tua state assemblyman and Gombak MP, is also PKR vice-president and Selangor Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman and Pahang PH chairman.
Sanusi who is Jeneri state assemblyman is the election director for PAS, which is a component party of PH’s rival coalition Perikatan Nasional (PN).
In his defamation lawsuit, Amirudin claimed that Sanusi had made the defamatory remarks in an August 2 speech during the “Jelajah Mega PN Best ‘Sayangi Kedah Sejahtera” event in Jitra, Kedah as part of political campaigns leading up to the August 12 state elections. Six states including Selangor and Kedah went through elections on August 12.
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 made available by others such as media outlets Astro Awani and KiniTV on social media, and that a video of a portion of the alleged defamatory remarks were made available on PAS Kuala Selangor’s TikTok account and Agenda Daily@one’s TikTok account.
Amirudin claimed that PAS online portal Harakah Daily had also reproduced Sanusi words in an article titled “Sanusi dedah skandal Amirudin dengan Vincent Tan”.
In the lawsuit, Amirudin said Sanusi’s remarks had defamed him by accusing him of being corrupt and abusing his powers as the Selangor menteri besar to cause the Selangor state government’s 600 acres of land worth RM10 billion to purportedly be given for free to Tan and his related company Berjaya Land Bhd.
But Amirudin said that Sanusi’s remarks were untrue and are malicious falsehoods, saying that Tan and Berjaya Land were never awarded or gifted 600 acres of Selangor state land for free and that the Selangor state government did not incur RM10 billion losses as claimed by Sanusi.
Among other things when arguing that there was malice, Amirudin claimed that Sanusi’s August 2 remarks were politically motivated and intended to cast him in a bad light ahead of the August 12 state elections, and claimed the remarks were aimed at garnering votes for PAS and PN.
“In uttering the defamatory statements at a political campaign event, which are untrue and baseless, the defendant was clearly motivated to obtain cheap publicity for personal, political and/or electioneering gains,” Amirudin said, also claiming that Sanusi’s remarks were aimed at making him lose votes in the state election.
“The express reference to a Chinese businessman by the name of Vincent Tan and the repeated references to the phrase ‘tauke’ in the defamatory statements were racially motivated and the defendant had intended to play with racial sentiments to cause disdain and disgust amongst the Malay community against the plaintiff,” Amirudin argued, referring to himself as the plaintiff and to Sanusi as the defendant in the court case.
Among other things, Amirudin said his reputation had been damaged and that Sanusi’s remarks had resulted in ridicule from the Malay community that he helps and enriches Chinese businessmen and also accusations from the public that he practises cronyism, besides also damaging public confidence in him as Selangor menteri besar and reducing his vote-majority in the Selangor state elections.
Based on the distress, anxiety, embarrassment, loss and damages he had suffered due to Sanusi’s alleged defamatory remarks, Amirudin claimed for compensation to be awarded.
On August 8, Tan and Berjaya Land had also filed a defamation suit against Sanusi, where the two sought for the court to order the Kedah politician to pay compensation over his “completely untrue” remarks in the same August 2 speech in relation to land in Selangor.
In the defamation suit, Tan and Berjaya Land are seeking for the High Court in Shah Alam to issue an injunction to restrain or stop Sanusi from making the same or similar defamatory remarks against them.
Reiterating Berjaya Land’s detailed August 4 point-by-point rebuttal of Sanusi’s claims, Tan and Berjaya Land in the lawsuit had said both of them were never given any 600 acres of land for free, and also stressed that the Selangor state government did not incur RM180 million in losses for giving away such land for free.
On August 17, Tan and Berjaya Land obtained a court order or injunction to temporarily stop Sanusi from making the same or similar defamatory remarks, until the High Court hears and decides on the defamation lawsuit. The injunction was obtained through an ex parte application, which meant it had only involved Tan and Berjaya Land’s lawyers.
The High Court on August 25 extended the temporary injunction obtained by Tan and Berjaya Land, until the High Court’s October 25 inter-parte hearing on the injunction where Sanusi’s lawyers are reportedly expected to object to the injunction application.