Najib fails in bid to include press statements over libel suit

Najib fails in bid to include press statements over libel suit
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUALA LUMPUR - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has failed in his bid to include press statements from the Attorney-General and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission which cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing relating to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue in his libel suit.

Najib had sought to include those statements in his suit against Harakah managing director and writer Dr Rosli Yaakop, and Harakahdaily portal editor-in-chief Taufek Yahya.

On Thursday, High Court judge Justice Hue Siew Kheng dismissed Najib's application with costs.

Speaking to reporters after meeting the judge in chambers, Najib's lawyer Nor Emelia Iszeham said Justice Hue found that there was inordinate delay in filing the application to amend the claim.

"The judge finds that there was no connection between the proposed amendments with the impugned (defamatory) article," she said.

She said Justice Hue also held that the proposed amendment or its facts was not available at the time of publication of the alleged defamatory article.

Nor Emelia said she would seek instructions from her client whether to appeal against the court ruling.

Harakah's lawyer Wan Rohimi Wan Daud confirmed the details.

Nor Emelia also said that the judge set June 23 to hear the trial of the libel suit.

Najib had sued the defendants over a defamatory article published on the portal in relation to 1MDB fund and Riza Aziz, who is his stepson.

Suing in his personal capacity, Najib said the article on Feb 19 last year contained defamatory words against him.

In his suit filed on March 18 last year, Najib said the offending words implied that he had abused his power to obtain wealth from a questionable source.

Najib is seeking an apology, damages and an injunction to prevent the defendants from further discussing or publishing the defamatory article either orally, in print, or on the Internet.

The Attorney-General had on Jan 26 found that no criminal offence was committed by Najib in relation to SRC International Sdn Bhd and the alleged RM2.6bil donation.

Among others, MACC issued a statement on Aug 3 last year that the RM2.6bil allegedly deposited into the personal account of the Prime Minister came from donors, and not from 1MDB.

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