The Sabah Sessions Court has ruled in favour of Sabah Christian Marcel Jude Joseph who sued PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang for allegedly making negative remarks against his religion.
Marcel, 54, won the judgement in default on August 12 when Hadi failed to show up in court.
The court ruled that Hadi must pay the 54-year-old lawyer damages for interfering with his constitutional right to freedom of religion under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
According to the written judgement reported by news portal Free Malaysia Today, the court ordered Hadi to pay Marcel damages for blasphemy, punitive damages, statutory interest and cost, the sum of which has to be assessed.
Marcel had applied for a judgement and after considering the application, the court issued a certificate of non-appearance by the defendant despite being served with the summons by the plaintiff’s lawyer on July 19. The court then granted judgement in favour of the plaintiff.
Malay Mail Online could not reach Marcel for comment.
Marcel, a member of the Sabah Catholic Lawyers Apostolate, filed the suit against Hadi last January 25 based on his comments in an article “Christianity rejected by the educated, says Hadi” published on January 18 in the Free Malaysia Today (FMT) online portal in which the Islamist opposition party chief reportedly said Christian missionaries had come to Malaysia only after failing in the west.
Marcel had said the article was blasphemous and unlawful interference with his constitutional right to freedom of worship under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
In his statement of claim, Marcel said the defendant made defamatory statements on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth paragraphs of the article “calculated to make negative and false inferences” of himself and of his faith and religious beliefs.
He alleged that Hadi’s statement had seriously injured his character, credit and reputation and were calculated to make negative and false inferences of Christianity, including that his religious beliefs were incredible.
He said Hadi’s remarks also implied that he, as a Christian, had no genuine faith or religion and belonged to an institution lacking in morality and was a member of “a gangster or mafia-like organisation engaged in unlawful and criminal activities.”
The Malay Mail Online