Court sets July 23 to hear application in Najib's defamation suit

PHOTO: Berita Harian

KUALA LUMPUR - A High Court here has fixed July 23 to hear an application by the Prime Minister in his defamation suit against Harakah over an article regarding 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and his stepson.

The application by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is to strike out certain paragraphs in the defence of Harakah managing director and writer Dr Rosli Yaakop, and Harakahdaily portal editor-in-chief Taufek Yahya, dealing with fair comment and qualified privilege.

Counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, who acted for the Prime Minister, told reporters Monday that Justice Hue Siew Kheng had set the date for trial in chambers.

The application, which was supposed to have been heard Monday, was adjourned to the later date as the first defendant needed more time, he said.

"Today was fixed for application to strike out but, however, the first defendant needed time to look through our amended submissions," he said.

Counsel Mohamed Hanipa Maidin appeared for Dr Rosli and Taufek.

On March 18, Najib sued the two in relation to the article written by Dr Rosli on Feb 19 titled "Dana 1MDB biayai syarikat filem Riza Aziz? (Bhg 2) (Did 1MDB sponsor Riza Aziz's production company)", saying it contained defamatory words against him.

He claimed that the words implied that he had abused his power to obtain wealth from a questionable source for his personal interest and that of his family members.

The article, he said, also meant that he was involved in money laundering and had benefited from property investments in the United States.

Najib contended that Taufek had failed to practise responsible journalism by taking steps to verify the truth of the article.

Besides an apology as well as damages, he is applying for an injunction to restrain the defendants from further discussion or publication of the article.