Hornbill Unleashed

July 8, 2017

Pua: Najib has no legal standing to sue me for defamation

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has no locus standi (legal standing) to initiate a second suit against him, as it relates to Najib’s performance and duties as prime minister, finance minister, and chairperson of 1MDB board of advisers.

Besides, Pua stated in his defence that Najib is also an elected MP for Pekan, and the suit filed, last April, was based on allegations of his function in his official capacities to the posts, his conduct and the notion that he is a public figure.

“(Najib’s) conduct, acts, performances and decisions are subject to public discussions and criticisms as they are related to his official capacities in holding the posts.

“This is not an action brought by the plaintiff (Najib) in his personal capacity, or an action that he is capable of doing in his personal capacity. Given the matters highlighted, the plaintiff has no locus standi to sue for defamation or commence this action,” he stated.

A copy of Pua’s defence to Najib’s second suit filed last May was sighted by Malaysiakini.

Najib filed the second suit against Pua over the latter’s Facebook live posting last April.

The Umno president claimed that the words used in Pua’s Facebook video posting implied that he had abused his powers as prime minister by directing the cabinet, through the Dewan Rakyat speaker, to allow the tabling of amendments to the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang to divert attention from 1MDB.

He also claimed that Pua’s impugned words implied that he (Najib) had conspired with PAS to split Malay votes among the opposition and that he practised dirty politics to remain in power.

Najib further complained that the words uttered meant that he had robbed 1MDB funds and would continue to commit criminal acts to steal from the people and that he had betrayed Malaysians.

In his defence, Pua highlighted the various purported questionable transactions made by 1MDB into Najib’s accounts and denied that the words he uttered regarding this were defamatory.

He further pleaded fair comment, qualified privilege and justification as the purported impugned words were comments on matters of public interests regarding Najib and BN co-operating with PAS in the tabling of Act 355 to gain an advantage over the opposition and strengthen Najib’s position as prime minister.

Pua also alleged that there was a lack of explanation by Najib over the purported loss of US$2.222 billion in the Aabar phase on 1MDB (where the US Department of Justice had alleged that the money was misappropriated from 1MDB.)

Najib, in a written response between May 26, 2015, and May 18, last year, refused or failed to answer questions related to 1MDB payments to Aabar BVI and claim that such information could be obtained from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

“However, the PAC report does not contain such information sought,” said Pua, who is also a PAC member.

Admits holding Facebook live session

Pua admitted that he held the Facebook live session at the foyer of the Parliament building in April this year, but denied that the tabling of Act 355 amendment was defamatory.

He maintained that the cooperation between Najib, BN and PAS over Act 355, a private’s member bill tabled by PAS, was for political purposes to split the Malay votes among the opposition.

He said what he meant was that the public should not be distracted by the tabling of Act 355, and forget that Najib and his administration have exploited national resources for their own personal benefit and hence he and his government ought to be removed in the next general election.

Before the parliamentary sitting on April 6 this year, it was widely reported that BN component parties openly supported Act 355.

BN and PAS reportedly had private discussions on the Act, with the BN-led government considering taking over from PAS to table it as a government’s bill.

But on March 29, Najib announced that the government would not table the bill.

Pua said Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia presided at the parliamentary session on April 5. The sitting began at 10am and was extended until 5am the next day to allow two government bills – the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill 2017 and the Tourism Tax Bill 2017 – to be passed.

The government, he claimed, deferred four other bills to the next session and withdrew another bill, and as a result, there was no further government business in the sitting on April 6.

“The speaker then, in the purported exercise of his powers, allowed Act 355 to be tabled by PAS president ahead of other private members’ bills.

“Prior to tabling of the amended bill on April 6, BN made a decision to allow Act 355 to be tabled. There was an agreement between BN and PAS to allow (the latter) to present its case without a debate,” he said, adding that BN MPs knew of this arrangement in advance.

In previous sittings on May 26 and Nov 24 last year, BN and Pandikar were instrumental in allowing the motion on Act 355 to be tabled without substantive debate.

Pua claimed that Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said, who is Penggerang BN MP, had also proposed that Hadi’s motion be brought forward to the top of the order list, thus bypassing three government bills and other private members’ motions.

As a result of Azalina’s motion, Act 355 was tabled on May 26 but at Hadi’s request, the debate was postponed.

On the Nov 24, last year, the speaker allowed Hadi to table his motion to amend Act 355 ahead of six other government motions. The motion was tabled in April but the debate was deferred at Hadi’s request.


Source : Malaysiakini by Hafiz Yatim


 

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