Terengganu Sultanah seeks judgment against Sarawak Report editor

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 28 May 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sultanah of Terengganu has filed an application at the High Court for her defamation suit against Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown and two others to be decided purely on points of law and without going for a full trial.

The suit, filed by Sultanah Nur Zahirah against Rewcastle-Brown, involved alleged defamation relating to Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) in a book titled The Sarawak Report - The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose.

Lawyer Datuk Mohd Haziq Pillay Abdullah, who represented Sultanah Nur Zahirah, told reporters that they filed the application on May 13 for the suit to be summarily disposed of according to Order 14A of the Rules of Court 2012, without going for a full trial.

It was brought up for case management in the chambers of High Court judge Justice Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim here yesterday.

Mohd Haziq said the judge had discretion under the law of defamation to decide whether Rewcastle-Brown’s statement in the book was indeed defamatory.

The book was published by Gerakbudaya Enterprise Sdn Bhd (second defendant) and printing company Vinlin Press Sdn Bhd (third defendant).

“If the application is allowed, this means Her Royal Highness would not be required to give evidence.

“Therefore, the onus falls on the defendants to come up with their own defence, and if their defence that is allowed under the Defamation Act would be admissible,” said Mohd Haziq.

He said the defendants had filed their reply to the application on May 24 while the plaintiff would now have to file the affidavit in reply by June 12.

The court fixed June 17 for further case management.

On Nov 21 last year, Sultanah Nur Zahirah sued the defendants for defaming her in a book on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

In her statement of claim, the Sultanah alleged that the defamatory statements implied that she, the plaintiff, was involved in corrupt practices and interfered in the administration of Terengganu as well as to used her role to influence the setting up of TIA and assisted Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, to be the adviser of TIA.

Sultanah Nur Zahirah alleged that the statements were defamatory as she was neither involved in the administration of the state nor the setting up of TIA.

She claimed that the statements had caused her embarrassment and tarnished her reputation in the eyes of the public.

Sultanah Nur Zahirah is claiming RM100mil in damages from each of the defendants and wants the second defendant to withdraw the books containing the defamatory statements as well as stop the third defendant from printing more copies of the book.

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