Rafizi wins appeal against defamation suit by NFCorp executive chairman

PUTRAJAYA – PKR vice-president Mohd Rafizi Ramli (picture) has won his appeal to set aside a High Court order that he pays RM200,000 in damages to National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp) executive chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail and his company for defamation.

The Court of Appeal three-member bench comprising Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, Datuk Hanipah Farikullah and Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said, allowed Mohd Rafizi’s appeal.

“We are unanimous that the appeal has merits. The appeal is allowed with costs,” said Justice Hamid Sultan.

He ordered Dr Mohamad Salleh to refund a total sum of RM300,000 which included the RM200,000 in damages and RM100,000 costs which was paid by Mohd Rafizi to him (Dr Mohamad Salleh).

Justice Hamid Sultan instructed Dr Mohamad Salleh to refund the RM300,000 within 30 days, failing which a five per cent per annum interest would be imposed until the payment is settled.

Justice Hamid Sultan also ordered Dr Mohamad Salleh to pay RM10,000 costs for the Court of Appeal proceedings and RM100,000 in costs for proceedings in the High Court.

The judge (Justice Hamid Sultan) also dismissed a cross-appeal brought by Dr Mohamad Salleh on the quantum of damages.

Dr Mohamad Salleh’s lawyer Sarah Abishegam requested for a stay of the decision but Justice Hamid Sultan told her to make a formal application.

In 2013, Dr Mohamad Salleh and NFCorp sued Mohd Rafizi claiming that he (Mohd Rafizi) had made a defamatory statement on March 7, 2012 at a media conference at the PKR Office on the purchase of KL Eco City properties which was published by Malaysiakini on the same day.

On Oct 31, 2016, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur ordered Mohd Rafizi to pay RM150,000 in damages to Dr Mohamad Salleh and RM50,000 in damages to NFCorp after allowing their suit against him (Mohd Rafizi). 

Mohd Rafizi was also ordered by the High Court to pay RM100,000 costs to Dr Mohamad Salleh.

The High Court, however, dismissed Dr Mohamad Salleh’s suit against Malaysiakini. 

Earlier, the court rejected Sarah’s application to postpone the appeal as well as her bid for the matter to be stood down until lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was present in the court.

“This matter has been adjourned at least five times, and damages to the first respondent (Dr Mohamad Salleh) are only RM150,000,” said Hamid Sultan.

Both Mohd Rafizi and Dr Mohamad Salleh were not present in the court.

Lawyer Ranjit Singh representing Mohd Rafizi said his client was only relying on the defence of fair comment.