KUALA LUMPUR: The hearing of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s suit against Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi over alleged defamatory statements regarding the "kutty" issue has been postponed to July 19.
The case was supposed to proceed on Tuesday (Feb 13) but was postponed after the High Court was informed that Dr Mahathir is currently receiving treatment at the National Heart Institute (IJN).
His lawyer Mior Nor Haidir Suhaimi said his client was also given medical leave until Saturday (Feb 17) as he is unwell.
Earlier, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer, Shahrul Fuzli proposed the new date for the hearing in October, however the judge shot down the proposal and fixed 19 July as the new date for the hearing.
"We can adjust the dates for other cases to make way for this case. I believe Tun Dr Mahathir is the oldest plaintiff in this court. The court has set July 19 for the trial," the judge said on Tuesday.
It is learnt that the trial will take approximately four days, with proposed dates being Aug 26 and 27, and then Aug 29 and 30 for the continuation of the hearing.
On July 20 last year, Dr Mahathir, 98, filed a lawsuit against Ahmad Zahid, 70, as sole defendant, for allegedly issuing defamatory statements regarding the "kutty" issue.
In his statement of claim, Dr Mahathir claimed that Ahmad Zahid had issued a defamatory statement against him during an Umno divisional meeting in Kelana Jaya on July 30, 2017, and the statement was reproduced on Astro Awani's YouTube and several online news portals, which can be easily accessed by internet users without any restrictions.
Dr Mahathir claimed that the slanderous statement meant that he was not born as a Malay or a Muslim with the alleged original name of "Mahathir son of Iskandar Kutty" and that he claimed to be a Malay when he became prime minister to gain political and personal advantage apart from belittling Malaysians of Indian Muslim descent.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid in his statement of defence filed on Aug 17 last year through Messrs. Shahrul Hamidi & Haziq, denied that the statement made on July 30, 2017, was malicious and slanderous and harmed the reputation of the plaintiff in the public eye.
The Umno president claimed that the name "Mahathir son of Iskandar Kutty" refers to an individual based on the information in an old copy of an identity card, in addition to claiming that he also has no control over any video publication regarding his statement on the media platform.