KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has ordered former Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy to pay more than RM1mil in damages for defaming independent preacher Dr Zakir Naik.
This followed Judge Hayatul Akmal Abdul Aziz's decision on Thursday (Nov 3) in allowing two suits by Zakir.
The judge also ordered the defendant (Ramasamy) to pay the said amount to the plaintiff (Zakir) within 30 days from Thursday; the two suits were filed respectively in October and December 2019.
Ramasamy attended court while Zakir joined online proceedings as he is in Nigeria for a talk.
In her judgement, judge Hayatul Akmal ruled that Dr Zakir had succeeded in discharging his burden on defamation while the evidence of Ramasamy was primarily untenable to negate these two suits against him.
"I take the evidence by Ramasamy in his defence with an abundance of caution. I am unpersuaded by his arguments. It is my considered view that the evidence of Ramasamy is primarily untenable to negate these two suits against him.
"In my considered determination, Dr Zakir has satisfied three essential elements of the tort of defamation. Looking at the background and complete facts of the present case, the demeanour of Ramasamy in the context in which it was issued, five statements are undoubtedly defamatory that were actuated by malice and anger on the part of Ramasamy towards Dr Zakir.
"Those impugned statements were personal attacks angled to disparage, ridicule and lower Dr Zakir in the eyes of the general public," she said.
The damages include RM1 million for general damages, RM100,000 for compensatory damages, RM100,000 for aggravated damages, and RM250,000 for exemplary damages.
The judge ordered Ramasamy to pay RM70,000 in costs to Dr Zakir.
At the end of proceedings, the judge also ordered Ramasamy to make a public apology to Zakir but Ramasamy’s counsel Razlan Hadri Zulkifli informed the court they would file an application to stay the need for the defendant to apologise to Zakir pending their appeal to the Court of Appeal. - Bernama