PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has directed a defamation suit by Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob against Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd to go to trial at the High Court.
Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, who chaired the five-man panel, restored an earlier decision by the High Court and also set aside the Court of Appeal’s decision.
Justice Zulkefli made the order after granting an appeal by Adnan against the Court of Appeal’s decision.
He said the decision was unanimous, and later fixed Feb 22 for case management at the High Court.
In his suit filed in December 2014, Adnan said Utusan Melayu had, on Nov 9 that year, published an article in Mingguan Malaysia under the headline “Hebat Sangatkah Adnan?”
Adnan said his reputation as a national leader and politician had been adversely affected by the article.
In his statement of claim, he said the article also implied that he was a liability to the political party he represented.
On July 23 2015, High Court judge Justice Yeoh Wee Siam dismissed Utusan Melayu’s application to strike out Adnan’s lawsuit and ordered the publisher to pay him RM3,000 in costs.
The publisher filed an appeal, and on March 1, 2016, Court of Appeal judge Justice Rohana Yusof allowed Utusan Melayu’s bid to strike out Adnan’s suit.
Justice Rohana found that the said libellous article, when read as a whole, referred to Adnan by his post as the mentri besar.
Politicians cannot sue the media for defamation in their capacity as public figures, the Court of Appeal had ruled.
Adnan then filed a leave application to reverse the ruling.