EC deputy chairman says Mat Sabu defamed him in two articles court told

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 21 Nov 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar testified in a High Court here that PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu has clearly defamed him in two articles published in February claiming that he was involved in the IC Project in Sabah.

Wan Ahmad, 65, said Mat Sabu alleged that he was involved in the project when he was the EC chairman in Sabah.

He was responding to a question by his counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun during examination-in-chief before Judicial Commissioner Lee Heng Cheong on Thursday.

"He had definitely defamed and humiliated me as I had no connection at all in the project in Sabah.

"I had never worked in Sabah throughout my career with the EC," said Wan Ahmad when testifying in his defamation suit filed against Mohamad Sabu or better known as Mat Sabu, PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali, Harakah printer Angkatan Edaran Ent Sdn Bhd, its chief editor Ahmad Lutfi Othman and its writer Aziz Muda.   

To another question by Mohd Hafarizam on one example where he had been humiliated and tarnished his reputation as a result of the article, he replied that an audience from Sabah had come forward and accused him that he was irresponsible as he was involved in the project and urged him to resign.

"The incident occured during a question-and-answer session on air with Bernama TV after the articles were published," he said.

Wan Ahmad said he brought the suit agaist the defendants in his personal capacity and not as an EC deputy chairman.

Cross-examined by the defendants's counsel Mohamed Hanipa Maidin on his credibility as the EC deputy chairman had been questioned before the articles were published, Wan Ahmad said, "I disagreed". 

Meanwhile, Sabah EC director Datuk Md Idrus Ismail, 56, said the article, at material time, the Sabah election officer was Wan Ahmad Wan Yusof and not the plaintiff Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.

"As far as I know the plaintiff had never worked in Sabah EC throughout his career," he added.

The plaintiff had closed his case where four witnesses were called to give their evidence Thursday. 

The first defendant Mat Sabu is expected to take his stand on Friday.

In his suit, Wan Ahmad contended that Mohamad Sabu – or better known as Mat Sabu – had on Jan 29 accused him of being involved in “Projek IC”, the issuance of identity cards in Sabah, which was published in Harakah’s Feb 1-3 edition.

He said the words had referred to him as the mastermind in the conspiracy to let Barisan Nasional win in Sabah during the elections.

In his lawsuit filed on March 5, Wan Ahmad had named Mat Sabu, PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali, Harakah printer Angkatan Edaran Ent Sdn Bhd, its chief editor Ahmad Lutfi Othman and its writer Aziz Muda as defendants.

In the statement of claim, Wan Ahmad said he issued a notice of demand dated Feb 7 through his solicitor Messrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak to Mat Sabu, who was asked to stop making defamatory statements over the issue.

Mat Sabu, however, failed to respond.

In the statement of defence filed on April 2, the defendants denied defaming the plaintiff and asked that the suit be dismissed, saying that the law firm has no legal rights to file the action.

They said Wan Ahmad couldn’t file the libel suit as his position was open to public scrutiny and the action had a “chilling effect” over their freedom of speech guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.

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