Opposition MP denies defaming Malaysian PM and wife in oil subsidy talk

Opposition MP denies defaming Malaysian PM and wife in oil subsidy talk
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KUALA LUMPUR - PKR vice-president Mohd Rafizi Ramli claims that he has not defamed the Prime Minister and his wife in relation to the issue of removal of oil subsidies.

Mohd Rafizi said he was invited to give a talk on Nov 22 last year by the PKR's Bandar Tun Razak branch on the importance of maintaining oil subsidies to ensure a reduced cost of living for the people.

"The speech was delivered in a lighthearted, exaggerated and rhetorical fashion.

"The words complained of, even if defamatory, which is denied, are covered by absolute privilege," he said in his amended statement of defence dated July 8, made available to reporters yesterday.

Mohd Rafizi claims that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is suing in his capacity as the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, adding that the couple is not entitled to file the lawsuit against him. Alternatively, he said the statement made by him as an MP was a fair comment and was made in good faith.

He said the fuel subsidy was removed towards the end of last year and that it had the ultimate effect that Malaysians were forced to pay more for a variety of consumer goods.

In his counter claim asking for general damages, Mohd Rafizi said the suit is a means to suppress and victimise him.

High Court judge Justice Noraini Abdul Rahman has set Aug 5 to hear some preliminary argument over compliance of directives given by the court.

In the suit, Najib said Mohd Rafizi had uttered slanderous words on that day in respect of his office. His wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor said Mohd Rafizi's words implied she had committed a criminal act.

They said the recording of the speech had been uploaded by Media Rakyats owner Chan Chee Kong onto YouTube, Media Rakyats webpage and its Facebook page. Chan is the sole proprietor doing business under the name and style of MR Multimedia.

In the suit filed in April this year for damages, the couple have named Mohd Rafizi and Chan as defendants.

The couple also want Chan to remove the recording from YouTube, Media Rakyats webpage and Facebook page with immediate effect from the date of judgment.

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