Posted: 4:41 pm, March 14, 2017 by editor
KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 14: The High Court was today told that the application by former Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir to interrogate the prime minister’s press secretary Datuk Seri Tengku Sharifuddin Tengku Ahmad was irrelevant to the defamation suit against him.
Counsel Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos, representing Tengku Sharifuddin, said the application to check and verify the facts pleaded by his client was not a requirement in the suit and it was done with the intention to delay the trial.
“The plaintiff (Mukhriz) did not choose to put forward these interrogatories before the close of pleading, where he could have done it as of right. But the plaintiff had only resorted to file this application on Sept 2, 2016, two months after the pleading was closed,” he said in his submission before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Roslan Abu Bakar.
Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, acting for Mukhriz, however, said the proposed interrogatories were relevant to ensure fair and just adjudication of the matter before it to be achieved in trial.
He said the proposed interrogatories were drafted in response to the defendant’s own statement and/or allegations in his statement of defence dated June 13, 2016 which required futher clarification as to the truthfulness of the facts.
“The statement of defence contains allegations concerning the plaintiff which were not within the knowledge of the plaintiff at all material time,” he said.
The court fixed April 6 for a decision on Mukhriz’s application.
Mukhriz, 51, filed the suit on May 3, last year, 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 Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Mukhriz Mahathir’.
Mukhriz in his writ of summons 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 Tun Razak.
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 their political interest. — Bernama
(The Malaysian Times)