KUALA LUMPUR - Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali was fined RM20,000 (S$8,000) and jailed a day by a High Court here for contempt over statements about a trial judge presiding in a defamation case involving Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
After Ibrahim was sentenced, he spent several hours in a lock-up until he paid the fine, after which he was allowed to leave but ordered to remain within the Jalan Duta court complex until 5pm.
Ibrahim, who had turned up in court in a matching black suit, was later spotted having tea in the canteen in a jovial mood.
When met by reporters, he quipped: "To me, going to the lock-up is nothing, I am immune to it as it's nothing new for me," he said, adding that it was "nolstagic" as it reminded him of being detained under the Internal Security Act.
Earlier, High Court judge John Louis O'Hara had ruled that Ibrahim's statements in an article by blogger Zainuddin Salleh was contemptuous to the courts in general and specifically damaging to fellow Justice Datuk V.T. Singham.
Singham, who has since retired, was the trial judge in a RM50mil defamation case filed by Anwar against Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd.
Judge O'Hara found that Ibrahim's statements amounted to an attack against Singham's credibility and impartiality to decide on the case.
He also ruled that it was subjudice as the defamatory article was published on the website on Jan 7, ahead of the court's decision set for Jan 21.
Judge O'Hara also sentenced Zainuddin to four weeks in jail for publishing the said article.
On March 5, Anwar was allowed to cite Ibrahim and Zainuddin for contempt for scandalising the trial judge in his defamation case against Utusan Melayu and its editor-in-chief, Abdul Aziz Ishak.
However, Ibrahim claimed that neither he nor the Malay rights group was responsible for posting the article, arguing that the website was not affiliated with it.
On Jan 21, Anwar had won his defamation suit against Utusan Melayu over the publication of two articles on his comments to BBC during an interview on homosexuality laws.
Justice V. T. Singham had ordered Utusan Melayu to pay RM45,000 in costs to Anwar.