KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 – The High Court Wednesday set two days from Aug 15 to hear the defamation suit brought by Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan against news portal Malaysiakini and its reporter Geraldine Tong.
Judge Abu Bakar Jais set the dates in chambers in the presence of lawyer Shahriman Ruslan, who represented Abdul Rahman, and K. Shanmuga, who appeared for Malaysiakini and Tong. Shanmuga also told reporters that the court also set May 23 for case management.
Abdul Rahman, who is an UMNO Supreme Council member and MP for Kota Belud, filed the suit on Jan 13, 2016, claiming that an article and a video clip published by Malaysiakini and Tong without his permission did not reflect the original content of his message and that it was edited to portray him as having instructed the urban population to return to the villages.
In his statement of claim, Abdul Rahman claimed that on Nov 6, 2015, the defendants had, with levity and malice, published or caused to be published on the www.malaysiakini.com website slanderous and false statements referring to him under the title “Minister’s ‘go back to kampung’ notion draws contempt”.
He claimed that the defamatory statements, among others, implied that he had no care for the plight of the people due to the rising cost of living, did not encourage the people to seek income in the urban centres and was insensitive to the current issues that had an impact on society. Abdul Rahman is claiming general damages, aggravated and exemplary damages, costs, interest and other relief deemed fit by the court.