Azam's suit against activist fixed for case management on Feb 15


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 13 Jan 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has fixed Feb 15 for case management of a lawsuit by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki against anti-graft activist Lalitha Kunaratnam.

Azam, who has been caught in a controversy involving the purchase of millions of shares in two public-listed companies in 2015, filed the writ of summons against Lalitha through law firm Messrs Zain Megat & Murad on Wednesday (Jan 12).

A check with the court's e-filing system showed that the matter had been fixed for mention via e-review before senior assistant registrar Noordura Mohamed Din at 9am.

In his statement of claim, sighted by The Star, Azam said the defendant had published two articles titled "Business Ties Among MACC Leadership: How Deep Does It Go? (Part 1)" and "Business Ties Among MACC Leadership: How Deep Does It Go? (Part 2)" on news portal Independent News Service on Oct 26.

The two articles were republished on Dec 15.

The articles, Azam claimed, were drafted, published and republished with malice and mala fide (bad intention) to give impact and bad perception to the readers for them to conclude that Azam was a corrupt civil servant who abused his position as a top-ranking MACC officer for his own interests as well as his brother's.

Azam also claimed that the defendant had made tweets relating to the articles, including uploading a media statement from the defendant's lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon on Twitter, which Azam said were "sensational, scandalous and offensive".

He claimed the tweets and the media statement were intended to gain public sympathy and an attempt by the defendant to get him into a trial by media.

Azam further claimed that the defendant had never obtained confirmation from him regarding the articles.

The plaintiff said the issue of him getting promotions in a short period of time in the MACC, as raised by the defendant in her articles, was without merit.

He claimed the defendant had defamed the MACC as a whole as though the anti-graft agency had no due process in its promotion of staff.

"What is worse, it was as if the defendant had insulted the Yang di-Pertuan Agong who had appointed the plaintiff as the chief commissioner in line with the existing law," he said.

Azam claimed the defendant had tarnished his good name, reputation and standing due to the publication and re-publication of the articles, tweets and the lawyer's media statement.

He wants an injunction against the defendant or her agents from republishing the allegations against him and for her to take down the impugned defamatory statements, articles and tweets that hurt his public image.

Azam is also seeking an apology from the defendant to be published in newspapers and social media platforms of his choice.

He is seeking RM10mil in general damages, aggravated damages, interests, costs and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.
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