KUALA LUMPUR: Former transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik (pic) has been allowed some time to file his statement of defence over a libel suit filed by the Prime Minister against him.
On Thursday, the parties agreed for an extension of time to be given to Dr Ling to file his statement of defence.
This was disclosed to reporters here by Dr Ling's lawyer Gregory Ling and the Prime Minister's counsel Nor Emelia Iszeham after they met the judge in chambers.
High Court judge Justice John Louis O'Hara allowed Dr Ling to file his statement of defence on Dec 15.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was suing Dr Ling over his remarks which allegedly implied that he had misused public funds for his personal interests.
Nor Emelia said her client would reply to the defence statement by Dec 29.
"The pleadings (documents filed for the suit) will be closed at end of the next month," added Gregory.
In his suit, Najib said that an online news portal had on Oct 3 published an article saying Dr Ling had made slanderous statements against him while attending a ceremony at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College.
He said Dr Ling, who is a former MCA president, had uttered defamatory words in his speech which implied that he had misappropriated funds belonging to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) into his personal account.
Najib said the words had implied that he was not a competent to be leader of the Government or the Prime Minister.
In his statement of claim, Najib is seeking general, special, aggravated and exemplary damages to be assessed by the court.
Among others, Najib is applying for an injunction to restrain Dr Ling from further speaking or publishing or causing to be published any similar defamatory words against him.
He is asking for an order that Dr Ling publish a written apology in newspaper or magazines to be identified by him.
The Prime Minister had on Oct 27 filed the suit at the High Court civil registry through Messrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak.