KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seeking RM10mil in damages and an apology from Tan Sri Tommy Thomas over allegations made against him in the former attorney general’s tell-all memoir.
Thomas’ newly released book is titled My Story: Justice in the Wilderness.
In a letter of demand served through law firm Shafee & Co and sighted by The Star, it said “Chapter 42 – Altantuya” in the book made defamatory statements against Najib.
The letter, dated Feb 2 and signed by Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, claimed that through the chapter, Thomas conveyed the message to readers that irrespective of the decisions of the courts, the former prime minister was somehow involved in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.
It claimed that Thomas’ statements on Najib were negligent, reckless, irresponsible, deliberate, malicious and aimed to lower Najib’s esteem and good reputation in the eyes of the public and further expose him to public hatred, scorn, odium, contempt and ridicule.
“Your impugned statements of our client portraying him as a murderer by direct inference and innuendo are wholly untrue, false, frivolous, vexatious and devoid of substance nor evidence, ” read the letter.
It also claimed that Thomas’ statements on Najib in the book were motivated by mala fide and in a selfish pursuit of seeking cheap publicity fuelled by “ego, sensationalism and profiteering”.
Those statements amounted to serious libel of Najib and had caused him considerable distress and embarrassment, it said.
It demands an apology from Thomas to be published in newspapers of Najib’s choice, an undertaking by Thomas not to repeat the allegations, and RM10mil in damages for the injury caused to Najib’s reputation.
It sought a reply from Thomas by noon on Friday, failing which a legal action for libel would be initiated.
Meanwhile, a senior lawyer claimed that a chapter on the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) in the book was factually wrong.
Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu said his client, former AIAC director Datuk N. Sundra Rajoo, had filed for leave for a judicial review first before he was charged in court with criminal breach of trust (CBT).
“The fact is, the judicial review was filed first in court before the charges were filed against my client as opposed to what was stated in his book, ” Baljit said.
He said the judicial review was still pending in the Federal Court and a hearing date has yet to be fixed.
“To come out and say all this is sub judice and defamatory, ” he said.
On Dec 17 last year, it was reported that the Federal Court had granted Sundra Rajoo leave for the apex court to decide on his immunity from criminal charges levelled against him previously.
On Dec 31,2019, a Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that Sundra Rajoo has immunity against prosecution from acts committed while he held his position in office as AIAC director.
Due to the immunity, three CBT charges levelled against Sundra Rajoo in March 2019 at the Sessions Court involving AIAC’s funds amounting to RM1.01mil were also quashed by the High Court.
However, on June 25,2020, the Court of Appeal reversed the High Court decision when a three-member bench held that the right forum to determine Sundra Rajoo’s immunity was the criminal court and not the civil court.
This resulted in the ongoing appeal at the Federal Court.