PUTRAJAYA, Oct 2 — Two Court of Appeal judges have recused themselves from hearing Pandan Member of Parliament Mohd Rafizi Ramli’s appeal over a defamatory lawsuit.
The lawsuit was brought by National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp) and its executive chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail against Mohd Rafizi and Malaysiakini over the purchase of a property in KL Eco City, Bangsar.
Justice Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, chairing the appellate three-man panel, today said in the interest of justice he and Justice Mary Lim Thiam Suan would not hear the appeal and had recused themselves.
He earlier told counsel that both of them had sat on the Court of Appeal panel that decided another defamation case involving Mohamad Salleh against Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament Nurul Izzah Anwar on July 10, this year.
Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, representing Mohamad Salleh, said both judges should not hear Mohd Rafizi’s appeal but Mohd Rafizi’s counsel Razlan Hadri Zulkifli said the two judges could hear the appeal as the statement in the matter of Nurul Izzah was completely different.
The case was then sent for case management today before the court registrar who then set March 23 as the new hearing date for the appeal before a new panel of judges.
The other judge sitting on the panel today was Justice Tan Sri Idrus Harun.
Mohd Rafizi is appealing against the decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court on October 31, last year to order him to pay RM200,00 in damages to Mohamad Salleh.
Meanwhile, Mohamad Salleh is also appealing against the High Court’s decision which dismissed his claim against Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd, the owner of news portal Malaysiakini, which was named as second defendant in his lawsuit.
In his statement of claim, Mohamad Salleh and NFCorp stated that on March 7, 2012, Mohd Rafizi had made a defamatory statement at a media conference at the PKR Office on the purchase of KL Eco City property and it was published by Malaysiakini on the same day.
High Court Judicial Commissioner Azizul Azmi Adnan in his judgment held that the statements made by Mohd Rafizi were defamatory.
Lawyer K. Shanmuga appeared for Malaysiakini. — Bernama