Verdict on Apandi Ali's appeal in defamation suit on Oct 10

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has fixed Oct 10, to give the verdict on an appeal by former attorney general Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali against a High Court’s dismissal of his RM10mil defamation lawsuit against Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang.

Justice Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, who chaired a three-member bench, said they need a month’s time to deliver the verdict.

She said the court’s decision would be delivered physically in open court on Oct 10.

The bench, also comprising Justices Datuk M.Gunalan and Datuk Azmi Ariffin heard submissions on Monday (Sept 4) from Mohamed Apandi’s counsel Rueben Mathiavaranam and lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo who is representing Lim.

On May 23, last year, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur dismissed Mohamed Apandi's suit against the DAP veteran and the former AG subsequently filed the appeal to the Court of Appeal on May 24 last year.

Mohamed Apandi sued Lim for allegedly defaming him in an article on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

In his suit filed on July 5, 2019, Mohamed Apandi claimed that on May 6, 2019, Lim had written and caused to be published an article titled "Dangerous fallacy to think Malaysia’s on the road to integrity” in Malaysiakini.

He claimed the alleged libellous words in the article implied that he was involved in crime and had abetted in the 1MDB financial scandal, was a person with no moral and integrity, was unethical and had abused his power when he was the AG.

Mohamed Apandi, who was the AG from July 27, 2015, to June 4, 2018, contended that the libellous words were untrue and written with the intention of tarnish his image and credibility as a former Malaysian AG, for cheap publicity.

He sought aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as RM10 million in general damages, an injunction to prevent Lim and/or his agents from publishing the alleged defamatory words again and other relief deemed fit by the court.

In Monday’s proceedings, Rueben submitted that Lim had made a positive assertion in his article, alleging that Mohamed Apandi had aided and abetted in the IMDB scandal, and was being asked to explain why he did so.

He said there was no evidence which showed that Mohamed Apandi participated, encouraged or assisted in the IMDB scandal and that there was also no ongoing probe nor investigation of Mohamed Apandi’s involvement in the IMDB scandal.

Rueben said the alleged defamatory words which Lim had caused to be published in Malaysiakini is not protected by the defence of qualified privilege.

Sangeet Kaur, however, argued that High Court judge Datuk Azimah Omar (now Court of Appeal judge) was correct in her findings to allow Lim’s defence of justification and qualified privilege and to dismiss Mohamed Apandi’s claim against her client.

She said Justice Azimah had carefully considered and evaluated the evidence of witnesses and that there was no misdirection by her in arriving at her decision.

Mohamed Apandi was present in the court proceedings on Monday.- Bernama

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