Rafizi said he was invited to give a talk on Nov 22 last year by PKR's Bandar Tun Razak branch on the importance of maintaining oil subsidies to reduce the cost of living of the people.
"The speech were delivered in a lighthearted, exaggerated and rhetorical fashion.
"The words complained of, even if defamatory, which is denied, are covered by absolute privilege," he said in his amended statement of defence dated July 8, which was made available to the media on Friday.
Rafizi claimed that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is suing in his capacity as the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, adding that he and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor are not entitled to file the lawsuit against him.
In his suit filed in April for damages, Najib said Rafizi had uttered slanderous words in respect of his office.
His wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, said Rafizi’s words implied that she had committed a criminal act.
They said the recording of the speech had been uploaded by Media Rakyat owner Chan Chee Kong on YouTube, Media Rakyat’s webpage and its Facebook page. Chan is the sole proprietor doing business under the name and style of MR Multimedia.
The couple want Chan to remove the recording from YouTube, Media Rakyat’s webpage and Facebook page with immediate effect from the date of judgment.
Rafizi said the statement made by him as the Pandan MP was fair comment, in good faith and without malice upon a matter of public interest.
He said the speech was made "on an occasion of qualified privilege as an elected MP and vice president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat." He said he has a moral, political and social duty to question the government's expenditure and demand transparency.
Besides that, he said the public has a corresponding legitimate interest in being informed of the government's expenditure.
High Court judge Justice Noraini Abdul Rahman set Aug 5 to hear the parties over their status to comply with her directives over the suit.
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