Lawyers representing Najib Abdul Razak are using Lim Guan Eng’s pending leave application at the Federal Court as a ground to postpone the prime minister’s ongoing law suits.
The Penang chief minister is seeking to appeal in a case against Perkasa information chief Ruslan Kassim, New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd and Utusan Malaysia.
This ground was raised in Najib’s suit against former MCA president Dr Ling Liong Sik who applied to strike out the PM’s suit for suing in his capacity as a public official. The High Court in Kuala Lumpur declined to rule as it was awaiting the outcome of Lim’s case.
Now, it is again being used in Najib’s appeal against PAS mouthpiece Harakah which was scheduled for a hearing at the Court of Appeal tomorrow.
Harakah lawyer Wan Rohimi Wan Daud when met confirmed that tomorrow’s proceeding has been vacated as Najib’s lawyers had cited Lim’s case.
“This is despite we may not be using the same ground to strike out Najib’s suit. We want the case to go on,” he told Malaysiakini.
The matter was fixed for case management last week for parties to hand in their respective submissions.
Previously Wan Rohimi told reporters that Harakah and PAS would not seek a settlement to the suit after the matter was brought up twice before Court of Appeal president Md Raus Sharif.
Najib had filed the suit against Harakah on March 18, 2015, where he also named its managing director Rosli Yaakop and Harakahdaily chief editor Taufek Yahya, following its report related to 1MDB and also his step-son Riza Aziz. The article was based on a New York Times report.
The appeal came after Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Hue Siew Kheng dismissed Najib’s application to amend his statement of claim to include attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali’s statement not to prosecute him, and also the PM’s application to have the case to go on without calling witnesses, including himself.
In December last year, the Court of Appeal ruled that Lim cannot sue the media for defamation in his official capacity.
Justice Rohana Yusuf had said the panel made the ruling as it was bound by its earlier decision in the case of Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd vs Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob.
She said the court had accepted the principles decided in an English case law, Derbyshire County Council vs The Times Newspapers Ltd & Others (1993), which stated that local authorities could not institute libel action in their official capacity.
Apart from the cases against Harakah and Ling, Najib also has pending suits against Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, PKR’s Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli and news portal Malaysiakini.
It remains to be seen whether Najib’s lawyers would use similar reason to seek a postponement for the three cases.
Source : Hafiz Yatim @ Malaysiakini