Ahmad Zahid sues Tun Mahathir for defamation

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE

KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (picture) has filed a defamation suit against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad over allegations that he used his position to influence the latter to interfere in his ongoing court proceedings for criminal.

Ahmad Zahid, 69, who is facing 47 charges involving criminal breach of trust (CBT), corruption and money laundering charges in relation to Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) funds, filed the suit at the High Court here last April 20 through the legal firm of Messrs. Shahrul Hamidi & Haziq on April 20.

Based on the statement of claim, obtained through a search of the court system, Ahmad Zahid stated that Dr Mahathir, who is PEJUANG chairman,  had issued defamatory statements with malicious intent against him at a PEJUANG event at Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana, Putrajaya, on Feb 23, 2022. The event was held in conjunction with the 15th Johor state election.

A video recording of the defamatory statement was republished live on the same day on Astro AWANI’s YouTube account, which had 1.4 million subscribers and can be accessed via the Internet, he said and that on the day the writ of summons and the statement of claims were filed, the video had received a total of 23,443 views.

He claimed the video recording was also widely reported through various social media mediums namely YouTube account of ‘MalaysiaGazette TV’, Facebook profile of ‘Astro AWANI’ and TikTok account of  ‘MalaysiaGazette TV’, as well as online news portals such as Berita Harian Online, Agenda Daily, The Malaysian Reserve, Malaysia Now, Malaymail and New Straits Times.

The Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament claimed that the defamatory statement meant that he was a person who used shortcuts to resolve and postpone the trial of his ongoing court cases and used his position to influence Dr Mahathir to interfere in his criminal trials and investigations by law enforcement agencies.

“The statements also mean that I am a hypocrite and cannot be trusted, that every action I take is suspicious and its transparency is doubtful, as well as trying to interfere in the country’s judicial system,” claimed Ahmad Zahid.

Ahmad Zahid said the alleged defamatory statements tarnished and damaged his reputation and good name, as well as his credibility as UMNO president and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman.

“Therefore, the defamatory statements were clearly issued with malicious intent to influence and give a bad and negative reputation to me as the top leader of Barisan Nasional, which indirectly gave a bad image to its component parties contesting in the Johor state election,” he said.

He is seeking general damages, aggravated and exemplary damages, interest, as well as an order to compel the defendant to publish an unconditional apology in writing in a newspaper to be determined by him (Ahmad Zahid) and costs, as well as other relief deemed fit by the court.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid also filed a notice for inter-parte application (both parties) for an interim injunction for the defendants either personally, through his officers, assistants, agents, employees and representatives to retract the defamatory statement and prevent them from publishing, distributing or disseminating the statement or similar defamatory statements on any social media platform including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp.

He is also filing for an interim injunction to compel the defendant to delete, edit and stop the publication of part of the video recording which contained defamatory statements in online news portals and social media on Youtube and Facebook ‘Astro AWANI’ as well as Youtube and Tiktok ‘MalaysiaGazette TV’.

Ahmad Zahid is also applying for an interim injunction to compel the defendant to write to any publisher, editor, operator and owner of online news portals or social media platforms that published the defamatory statement to delete and stop publishing the defamatory statement.

Lawyer Shahrul Fazli Kamarulzaman, representing Ahmad Zahid, when contacted, said the matter came up for case management before High Court Deputy Registrar Nor Afidah Idris today and the court set June 17 for the hearing of the inter-parte application before Judge Datuk Rozana Ali Yusoff .

Last month, Ahmad Zahid had filed a similar suit against Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin over allegations that he had asked for help to resolve or postpone the trial of his criminal cases.