PUTRAJAYA, Jun 15 – The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to obtained an order from the Court of Appeal here today. He said it is to temporarily stay the hearing of his defamation suit against Harakah Daily over 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Following the court’s granting of the stay, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur will be unable to proceed with the hearing of the suit scheduled to begin on June 23. The stay was granted by a three-man bench of the Court of Appeal chaired by Justice Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat pending the disposal of two related appeals brought by Najib.
One of these appeals was against the High Court’s dismissal on April 7 of Najib’s application to amend his statement of claim to include statements by Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and the other was against the High Court’s dismissal on May 23 of Najib’s application to have the suit decided on points of law without going for full trial.
These two appeals are set for case management before the Court of Appeal on June 23 and July 14, respectively. Apandi’s statement had confirmed that a sum of RM2.6 billion Najib allegedly received was a donation and that Najib was not involved in the SRC International case while the MACC statement confirmed that the RM2.6 billion was not from 1MDB.
The Court of Appeal bench also comprised Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer and Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi. Harakah Daily’s counsel Mohd Faizi Che Abu did not object to Najib’s application for the stay of hearing. Najib’s counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun said the stay of hearing was sought as the Court of Appeal had yet to hear the two related appeals.
The Prime Minister sued Harakah managing director Dr Rosli Yaakob and Harakahdaily chief editor Taufek Yahya over an alleged defamatory article written by Rosli and published on Feb 19, 2015. In his statement of claim, Najib said the article portrayed him as having misused 1MDB funds and that the publication of the article was intended to tarnish his reputation.
In the meantime, he also claimed that the Taufek failed to practise responsible journalism and did not verify whether the contents in Rosli’s article were accurate before publishing it. Also appearing for Najib was lawyer Nor Emelia Mohd Iszeham. — Bernama