Sungai Besar UMNO division chief Datuk Seri Jamal Md Yunos (picture) today withdrew his application to the High Court to have the defamation suits filed against him by two former ministers, heard jointly.
Former primary industries Minister Teresa Kok and former energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister Yeo Bee Yin, filed their respective suits on April 6 and June 14, 2017, claiming that Jamal had made defamatory statements about them concerning the misappropriation of funds belonging to foundation, Yayasan Warisan Anak Selangor (Yawas).
Lawyer Mohammed Nasser Yusof, representing Jamal, told Justice Datuk Rozana Ali Yusoff that his client ordered the application to be withdrawn on the grounds that recent developments in the country’s administration had led the status of the defendant’s (Jamal) witnesses to be changed from subpoenaed to voluntary.
Lawyer Tan Han Sam, representing Yeo, did not object to the application.
The court then granted Jamal’s application and fixed April 21 for case management to set the trial dates for Yeo’s suit against Jamal.
Today was supposed to be the decision on whether a joint trial will be allowed.
Mohammed Nasser told Bernama that his client’s intention to apply for the two cases to be tried together was to save costs and court time.
Following the change of the status of the witnesses, the issue of cost does not arise anymore, he added.
Both Kok and Yeo are claiming that Jamal, the sole defendant in the suits, had issued defamatory statements against them concerning the Yawas funds, and that the statements were published in the print and electronic media, including Jamal’s Facebook page.
The plaintiffs further claim, among others, that the defamatory statements gave the impression that they had misappropriated Yawas funds for their own use, and that they were unethical and could not be trusted.
Both Kok and Yeo are claiming general damages comprising RM1 million and RM5 million respectively, along with compensatory, aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as an injunction to prevent the defendant and any of his agents from republishing the defamatory statements.