KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has fixed Aug 25 for the next case management of a suit by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak against PKR vice-president Mohd Rafizi Ramli and Media Rakyat portal owner Chan Chee Kong over the removal of oil subsidies.
Judicial Commissioner Rohani Ismail set the date in chambers in the presence of counsel Joanne Leong, who acted for Chan, Ng Siau Sun for Rafizi and Nur Emelia Mohd Iszeham for Najib.
Leong said it was to update the court on the Federal Court’s decision on Tuesday which granted Rafizi and Chan leave on four questions pertaining to their fair comment.
She said the court has yet to fix the date of hearing.
Chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Richard Malanjun, who chaired the three-man panel, said they were inclined to give leave (to appeal) for Rafizi and Chan.
Among the four questions are whether the alleged defamatory words spoken in jest qualify for a fair comment and whether it is appropriate for a judge hearing a striking out application to decide the words spoken are fact or opinion.
The other judges on the panel are Justices Ramly Ali and Zaharah Ibrahim.
On April 15 last year, High Court judge Justice Noraini Abdul Rahman dismissed Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s application to strike out a defence of fair comment by Rafizi and Chan, stating that she would hear merits of the suit in a trial.
Both filed the application on grounds that the disputed words were statement of facts and not statement of comments.
The Court of Appeal’s three-man panel had on Nov 29 last year granted Najib and Rosmah to strike out a defence of fair comment by Rafizi and Chan.
In their suit, they said Rafizi made a slanderous speech against them at a forum in Bandar Tun Razak on Nov 22, 2014 on issues relating to oil subsidies.
Najib said Rafizi, who is also Pandan MP, uttered offending words in respect of his office.
Rosmah said his words implied she had committed a criminal act.
They said the recording of the speech had been uploaded by Chan onto YouTube, Media Rakyat’s webpage, and its Facebook page.