Govt lawyer applies to court to stop representing teacher

KLANG: The government lawyer has applied to court to withdraw from acting for a schoolteacher facing a countersuit filed by student Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam and her father Saiful Nizam Ab Wahab.

The Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) filed an application at the Klang Sessions Court Friday (June 10) to withdraw from representing teacher Khairul Nizam Sanuddin.

Khairul Nizam had filed a suit against the father and daughter for alleged defamation over a video on social media accusing him of cracking lewd rape jokes in class.

The AGC's affidavit filed at the Klang Court stated that the withdrawal of representation was because the teacher, who was named as first defendant, had his own lawyer representing him.

This, added the affidavit, created an overlap.

Khairul Nizam had filed a suit against the father and daughter for alleged defamation over a video on social media accusing him of cracking lewd rape jokes in class.

Following this, Ain Husniza and Saiful Nizam filed a counter case against him and also named the school's former headmistress Sarimah Mohammed Nor, Selangor Education director Anismah M. Noh, Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin and the Federal Government in the suit.

Ain Husniza and her father had also filed an affidavit on June 4 citing it was improper for a senior federal counsel to appear for the teacher who was being sued in his personal capacity.

This was followed by public criticism lambasting the need for a government lawyer to defend Khairul Nizam.

Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights director Fahri Azzat, however, said there was nothing wrong with the government defending the teacher.

"If it looks wrong, it's because those who think so don't understand the law and its processes.

"The question is why the government is choosing not to defend him – but this is not for me to answer," he said.

Fahri added that it was okay for government lawyers to represent the other defendants named in the suit and not the teacher.

"Maybe they are doing it because they are taking a different position from the teacher or want to deny vicarious liability," he said.

Meanwhile, lawyer and activist Nizam Bashir Abdul Kariem Bashir said it was okay if the Federal Government and its entities were named in the same suit as the teacher and headmistress.

He explained that generally when a suit is based on a tort (law revolving over a wrongful act) and if the limitation period against Government entities have not lapsed, they can be named as defendants in the father and daughter duo's claim.

"There's nothing wrong with that. It's quite typical for the government to take the position that the alleged action of the agent (the teacher in this case) was not authorised.

"So separate representations may enable the Government to put forward this defence," said Nizam Bashir.

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