Azmin denies making defamatory statements against Guan Eng

PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali refutes claims that he made a defamatory statement against former finance minister Lim Guan Eng in his speech during the 15th General Election (GE15) campaign in Lunas, Kedah, on Nov 12 last year.

In his statement of defence against the suit filed against him, the former trade and industry minister put the burden of proof on Lim.

"It was never the defendant's intention to slander the plaintiff. In fact, he only stated the things that happened when the plaintiff, together with the defendant led the Pakatan Harapan government from May 2018 until March 2020,” he said in his defence statement filed at the Sungai Petani High Court last Monday (Sept 25).

In his defence statement, Mohamed Azmin said he was criticising the government at that time, where Lim was part of the ruling administration and the government policies used against several companies.

In his lawsuit filed on April 17, Lim claimed that Mohamed Azmin had made defamatory statements against him at an event in Lunas, Kedah, on Nov 12 last year before GE15, which was attended by media members covering the election campaign.

Lim claimed that Mohamed Azmin had portrayed him as arrogant, and his arrogance had scared the business community, adding that it was reported in The Star newspaper on Nov 13 last year.

In his statement of claim, Lim, the former Penang chief minister, said the offending statements, specifically referenced his alleged conduct during his tenure as finance minister, had injured his character, credibility and reputation.

He said the statements, in their natural and ordinary meaning, among others, claimed that he had abused his power as the then-finance minister by using the government agencies for improper purposes.

Lim said the statements were defamatory and disparaged him in his standing, official capacity and profession.

He is seeking general damages, aggravated and exemplary damages and an unconditional apology from Mohamed Azmin to be published in The Star newspaper and The Star Online.

Last Aug 8, the Sungai Petani High Court granted Lim's application to serve his defamation suit against Mohamed Azmin via substitute service by publishing it in the newspapers.

Substituted service is to deliver documents in public litigation in the form of letters, advertisements to be published in newspapers, or any other method that allows the proceeding to gain the defendant's attention after a personal delivery of documents cannot be affected. - Bernama

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