Court to decide on Khairy’s appeal on Feb 7

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has fixed Feb 7 for decision in an appeal by Khairy Jamaluddin (pic) relating to a defamation suit filed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over a statement the minister had made at a political rally 14 years ago.

A three-man panel, chaired by Justice Lee Swee Seng, set the date after hearing submissions from both parties in online proceedings via Zoom here yesterday.

The other judges who sat on the bench were Justices Darryl Goon Siew Chye and Ghazali Cha.

“We thank the counsels of both parties for their submissions. We will require some time to deliberate on the matter.

“We fix for the decision to be delivered on Feb 7 at 9am, after Chinese New Year,” said Justice Lee.

The court also ordered the parties to file in their written submissions on costs on Jan 24.

Earlier, lawyer Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who represented Anwar, said the words uttered by Khairy carried a defamatory meaning to Anwar and it did not matter what the meaning was intended to be conveyed by Khairy.

“In this regard, it is pertinent to remember that the words or statement complained of by the plaintiff are: ‘Anwar main dua-dua ikut belakang.’

“In plain and ordinary meaning of the Malay language as understood by the ordinary and reasonable Malaysian, whether he is a Malay or not, the words refer to only one act that is, in the context of which the words were said or uttered, the act of homosexuality,” Sri Ram said.

The former Federal Court judge further submitted that Anwar’s claim in the case was only related to one charge; that he was said to be a homosexual or possess the propensity to indulge in such an act.

Meanwhile, Khairy’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah submitted that the court should not be bound by the meaning understood by the respondent when his client’s words were meant to have a different meaning.

“In the context of the appellant’s words, it meant betrayal in politics but these words were understood as something else by the respondent,” Muhammad Shafee said.

Khairy is appealing against the court’s decision that ordered him to pay RM150,000 in damages to Anwar, in a defamation suit filed by Anwar over Khairy’s speech in 2008.

Anwar filed the suit on March 7, 2008, alleging that the then Umno Youth deputy chief had uttered defamatory words and caused the posting on websites, including, of a video clip titled “Anwar and kin no threat”.

The PKR leader claimed that the video clip on contained defamatory words spoken by Khairy at a ceramah in Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur, on or about Feb 20, 2008.

He said the defamatory words, among others, meant that he was involved in activities contradictory to Islam, was not of good character and not fit to hold political or other positions.

In his statement of defence filed on Oct 8, 2010, Khairy said he had relied on the defence of justification and qualified privilege.

On Sept 29, 2017, a Kuala Lumpur High Court found that Khairy had defamed Anwar and ordered the defendant to pay RM150,000 in damages as well as RM60,000 in costs to Anwar.

Khairy appealed the decision but in February 2018, the Court of Appeal struck out his appeal after allowing Anwar’s application to annul the notice of appeal on technical grounds.

In December 2020, the Federal Court ruled in a unanimous decision that Khairy could challenge the High Court’s decision and ordered for it to be remitted to the Court of Appeal to be heard on its merits.

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