KUALA LUMPUR: A new judge will preside over Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s defamation suit against Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua and an online news portal owner.
Justice Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim has been assigned to hear and decide the case because High Court Judicial Commissioner Roslan Abu Bakar has been transferred to Shah Alam.
Deputy registrar K. Pavani fixed May 24 for case management.
Speaking to reporters after proceedings in chambers yesterday, Najib’s lawyer Nor Emelia Iszeham said they have to update the new judge on the outcome of cases by other parties, pending in the appellate court, on whether or not a public officer can sue for defamation in his personal capacity.
“All suits by the Prime Minister are initiated in his personal capacity,” she said, adding that the outcome of those cases would be able to determine her client’s right or capacity to sue.
Nor Emelia said Pua’s defence team was awaiting further instructions to proceed with his bid to strike out the suit on the grounds that Najib, being a public officer, has no legal standing to sue him for defamation.
In his civil claim seeking damages and an apology, Najib said Pua, 43, had delivered a speech at a DAP dinner on Nov 3, 2014, relating to 1MDB which slandered him.
He said the video of the speech was uploaded by news portal owner Chan Chee Kong, 52, or his agents onto Media Rakyat’s webpage, YouTube channel and Facebook.