KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 – Pandan Member of Parliament Mohd Rafizi Ramli (pix), who was charged with publishing libelous statement against the Pilgrims Fund Board or Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) in his blog, today applied for the charge to be dropped.
Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, representing Mohd Rafizi, informed Magistrate Umzarul An-Nur Umar that the application was made on the grounds that the charge against his client was baseless and was an abuse of the legal and court process. The lawyer said the prosecution has to explain clearly what is meant by ‘defamatory’ and the meaning of ‘damaging the reputation of the Pilgrims Fund Board’ as found in the charge, before witnesses are summoned to testify.
Deputy public prosecutor Nadia Zulkefli, who prosecuted, said the trial had yet to begin and the application raised by the defence could only be proven after the witnesses were called to testify. She said the issue of ‘abuse of law’ or ‘abuse of court process’ did not arise because the witnesses would explain the meaning of the word (defamatory) as contained in the charge when they are called to testify.
“The matter will be answered by the witnesses when they testify and with this the prosecution will be able to prove the case,” she said. The court fixed tomorrow to hear submissions by both parties on the application, as well as to decide the matter. The case had initially been fixed for hearing today.
On April 8 last year, Mohd Rafizi, who is also PKR vice-president, pleaded not guilty in the Magistrate’s Court here, on a charge of defaming Lembaga Tabung Haji in his blog www.rafiziramli.com. He was charged with committing the offence at the 18th floor of Tabung Haji Building, 201 Jalan Tun Razak, Dang Wangi, at 9am on Feb 18, 2016. The charge, under Section 500 of the Penal Code, provides an imprisonment for up to two years, or fine, or both, upon conviction.