KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 23 – The hearing of a defamation suit filed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak against Petaling Jaya Utara Member of Parliament Tony Pua Kiam Wee over a live video on the tabling of the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Bill 355) has been postponed to July 26.
Judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab fixed July 26, 27, 30, 31 and Aug 1 to hear the case as requested by lawyers Nor Hazira Abu Haiyan, representing Najib, and Tan Cheng Leong, for Pua, on grounds that their clients were busy with the 14th general election. The case had been fixed for hearing today until April 27.
“I don’t like to postpone cases, but am forced to as both the plaintiff and defendant are busy with the general election,” said Mohd Zaki, who also set June 1 for case management. Met by reporters outside the court, Nor Hazira said the plaintiff would be calling five witnesses, including the prime minister, while the defendant would call 15 witnesses.
On April 21, 2017, Najib, in his personal capacity, sued Pua for slander pertaining to Pua’s statement on a live video about the tabling of Bill 355. In the statement of claim, Najib stated that Pua had issued a statement at the lobby of Parliament Building on April 6, 2017, which was recorded and uploaded by the defendant and/or his agents in his official Facebook, ‘Tony Pua’.
He claimed the two minute and 21 seconds video clip, with the title “BN Govt abandons all Bills to give precedence to PAS’ RUU355 Private Member’s Bill”, could be widely and freely accessed and viewed on the Internet.
Najib alleged that the defendant’s statement had specifically referred to him and could be taken to mean that he had abused his power by giving an order through the Cabinet to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to allow the motion by the Marang MP on the Private Member’s Bill and to set aside other Bills. — Bernama