KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 – The High Court here today dismissed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s application to strike out a subpoena obtained by Sungai Besar Umno chief Datuk Seri Jamal Md Yunos compelling him to testify in a defamation suit related to Bersih 3.0.
By virtue of the ruling, Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman will have to be a witness in activist Maria Chin Abdullah’s suit against Jamal, which is at the trial stage.
Justice Datuk Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab made the decision in chambers, during which Dr Mahathir was represented by counsel Ilyani Noor Khuszairy; Jamal, by counsel V. Mugunthan and Mohamed Nasser Yusof; and Maria, by counsel N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya.
Ilyani told reporters when met, that the court dismissed Dr Mahathir’s application on the ground that he must know about Bersih 3.0 as he had previously given a statement on the rally; that his testimony could assist the court in its decision on the case.
She said the court further noted that Dr Mahathir must know about the detention of Maria’s husband under the Internal Security Act (ISA), as he was at that time the Home Minister. “We will not appeal against today’s ruling and Dr Mahathir will testify in the defamation trial,” she said.
Mohamed Naseer said the defendant’s side had succeeded in proving by prima facie that it was necessary for Dr Mahathir to get into the witness box, and was ready to question him in the trial, which will resume this March 5 and continue on March 7-9.
Jamal obtained the subpoena on Sept 28, 2017, for Dr Mahathir to testify in Maria’s suit against him for associating Bersih 2.0 with terrorist group Daesh. On Dec 19, 2017, Dr Mahathir applied for a court order to strike out the subpoena on the ground that he did not have any specific knowledge on the issue in the case.
In his application, Dr Mahathir alleged that the defendant had abused the court process and malicious intent against him aimed at creating a political gimmick out of the case. On Nov 14, 2017, the court allowed Inspector General of Police, Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun to strike out Jamal’s subpoena against him in the same case.
The court granted the application on the ground that Mohamad Fuzi, who was then Special Branch director did not have knowledge about the detention of Maria under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) 2012.
Maria, 61, who is also Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (Bersih 2.0) chairman, sued Jamal who is Malay Non-Governmental Organisations Coalition and Gerakan Merah Malaysia (GMM) chairman, on Oct 7, 2016.
In her statement of claim, she alleged that on Sept 28, 2016, Jamal uttered defamatory words against her in a media conference at Putra World Trade Centre, which were then published by a number of news portals, national print media and electronic media.
She also claimed that on Oct 4, 2016, Jamal once again slandered her at the Bukit Aman Police Headquarters premises, which was carried the following day by news portals, national print media and electronic media. – Bernama