Court allows Ismail Sabri's injunction application in defamation suit

  • Nation
  • Friday, 04 Mar 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has allowed an application by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for an ad-interim injunction against the owner of Agenda Daily Media Enterprise over an article that allegedly defamed him.

The Prime Minister made the application as an earlier ex-parte injunction, which he obtained on Feb 18, will expire on March 11.

The injunction is relating to a defamation suit filed by Ismail Sabri, 60, in his personal capacity against Muhamad Izwan Mohd Zubit, 37, the sole defendant.

Lawyer Joshua Tan, who represented Ismail Sabri, told the media that the ad-interim injunction was enforced until the court could hear and decide on an inter-parte injunction application, which has been fixed for hearing on April 27.

According to Tan, the court was informed that Muhamad Izwan had just appointed a lawyer.

"The defendant is requesting time to file his affidavit-in-reply against the injunction filed by the plaintiff (Ismail Sabri) and the court allowed the defendant's application.

"Therefore, we asked for the ad-interim injunction to maintain the status quo," he said when contacted Friday (March 4).

On Feb 18, the court granted Ismail Sabri an injunction order for the defendant to remove the posting titled "Ismail Sabri bimbang jadi PM paling singkat, ‘rayu’ jangan tarik sokongan" on Agenda Daily and an injunction for Agenda Daily from making any statements to state/imply that Ismail Sabri is desperate to remain as prime minister.

The ex-parte order lasted for 21 days and the inter-parte hearing was initially fixed for Friday before Judicial Commissioner Evrol Mariette Peters in a Zoom proceeding.

On Feb 17, Ismail Sabri applied for the injunction order in his defamation suit, which he filed in his personal capacity, against Muhamad Izwan, 37, over the article published on the news site.

In his statement of claim, Ismail Sabri said that on Jan 30, Agenda Daily Media had published the article which contained various ill-intentioned, defamatory and untrue statements regarding the plaintiff.

He said the article was re-posted on a website known as "The MalaysianLife”, which is an online news portal that could be accessed by the public.

He said the article, among others, implied that he was desperate to continue being the prime minister in whatever way, and was even willing to beg certain political parties not to withdraw their support for him, besides inferring that he was concerned about becoming the prime minister with the shortest tenure in Malaysian history.

"The article also implied that I was not loyal to Umno, and was only interested to continue being prime minister regardless of Umno’s interests and more concerned about my position as prime minister and not the country’s interests,” he said in the statement of claim.

As a result of the publication of the article, Ismail Sabri said his reputation as an Umno member and as prime minister had been tarnished and hurt his feelings.

"The publication also caused me emotional turmoil and the defamatory statements contained in the article can also have a negative effect on my political career,” he said.

According to Ismail Sabri, although his lawyer had sent a letter of demand dated Feb 3 asking the defendant to delete the article and to apologise, nothing has been done to date.

As such, Ismail Sabri sought an injunction order for Muhamad Izwan to delete the defamatory article on all websites and social media operated by the defendant.

He also applied for an injunction order to prevent the defendant or his agent from issuing similar defamatory statements against the plaintiff, and that the defendant be ordered to submit documents to show that the said article has been deleted within 24 hours from the date of judgment.

He is also seeking an apology from the defendant in a form to be decided by the plaintiff that will be published on the Agenda Daily website and in 21 local newspapers within seven days from the judgment date.

Apart from that, Ismail Sabri also sought general, additional and exemplary damages which will be assessed later by the court, interest of 5% from the date of judgment until full settlement, as well as costs and relief deemed appropriate by the court.

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