KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — The High Court here today heard that Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir’s defamation suit against the Prime Minister’s press secretary is merely for political purposes.
Lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos, representing Datuk Seri Tengku Sharifuddin Tengku Ahmad, said the press statements issued by his client made no reference to Mukhriz and anyone read those statements was unlikely to deduce that the statements were defamatory of Mukhriz, the plaintiff.
He argued that Mukhriz’s claim disclosed no reasonable cause of action and of being scandalous, frivolous and vexatious and that his action was groundless and therefore had no prospect of success.
“The plaintiff’s action is an abuse of the process of the court and merely for political purposes,” he said, adding that the suit ought to be struck out.
Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who acted for Mukhriz, countered that the press statements published and broadcast by Tengku Sharifuddin, the defendant, had in fact exposed Mukhriz to hatred, ridicule or contempt in the mind of right-thinking members of society.
“More importantly, those statements had severely tarnished his reputation as a member of the State Legislative Assembly of Ayer Hitam, Kedah, former Mentri Besar of Kedah, politician, as well as a public figure and a leader of the people, especially for the citizens of the state of Kedah,” he said.
Judicial Commissioner Datuk Roslan Abu Bakar fixed January 6 next year to decide on Tengku Sharifuddin’s application to strike out Mukhriz’s suit.
Mukhriz, 51, filed the suit on May 3, alleging that Tengku Sharifuddin had issued four defamatory statements against him on April 15, 20, 23 and 26.
The statements were issued under the headings, ‘Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Statement on Donation Confirmation by Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister’, ‘Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Statement on Former DPM’s Reuters Interview’, ‘Mukhriz Mahathir Statement: Response by Prime Minister’s Press Secretary’, and ‘Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Statement on Tun Mahathir Mohamad and Mukhriz Mahathir’.
Mukhriz alleged that the statements implied that Dr Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had conspired in a malicious campaign to topple a democratically-elected government and that he was involved directly in the plot between Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin.
Tengku Sharifuddin, in his statement of defence, denied that the four statements had disparaged Mukhriz and stressed that the statements were to explain and counter false accusations against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The defendant said he bore no malice in issuing the media statements which were published for information and in the interest of the Malaysian people.
He said he had a duty and responsibility to defend the prime minister and counter false accusations for the people to have an accurate picture and facts, which had been deliberately twisted by irresponsible parties for political interest. — Bernama