The High Court today ruled that Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli did not defame Umno Youth deputy chief Khairul Azwan Harun last year when he touched on a property scandal involving Mara.
Judge S. Nantha Balan ruled that Khairul had failed to prove his case on the balance of probabilities.
He referred to a disputed paragraph in Rafizi’s press statement on July 6 last year. “It was merely a comment that individuals involved in the Mara scandal should explain their roles,” the judge said.
The statement, he said, did not paint Khairul as an individual who was corrupt and had abused his powers, adding that the Mara scandal was of public interest.
“He (Rafizi) has a public duty to call for an investigation into the scandal,” he said.
Khairul’s claim that Rafizi had recklessly defamed him was not established in the trial, the court found.
“Rafizi conducted his research after a tip-off from his source,” said Nantha. “He was not shooting from the hip”.
Khairul, also known as “Azwanbro”, sued Rafizi last year for purportedly alleging he was involved in the purchase of a property on 746 Swanston Street in Melbourne, Australia.
The purchase was through Thrushcross Land Holdings Limited, a company owned by Mara Inc.
The deal reportedly resulted in “leakage” of RM63 million.
Khairul said Rafizi’s statement, published by online portals, had painted him as corrupt, dishonest and that he had acted in his own financial interest.
The statement further alleged that he (Khairul) abused his position as the chairman of Biosis Group Berhad in the deal, claimed Khairul.
The Umno Youth deputy chief sought general, aggravated and exemplary damages.
William Leong represented Rafizi while M. Reza Hassan acted for Khairul.
Source : Ho Kit Yen@FMT Reporters Online