‘This is court’. Judge raps Jamal Yunos over bald claims in Maria Chin suit

Ida Lim
Jamal said he did not have with him in court the documents or evidence to support his allegations and allegedly defamatory statements. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — A judge reminded Sungai Besar Umno division chief and head of the so-called “Red Shirts” Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos today that he cannot simply make claims without evidence in court.

Jamal was testifying in his defence against a defamation lawsuit by former polls reform group Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah, but was reminded repeatedly by the judge that he must back up his comments with evidence.

“This is court; we cannot make statements without proof,” High Court judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab told Jamal.

The judge informed the junior Umno leader that court proceedings were unlike chats in coffee shops where evidence may not be required.

Jamal earlier claimed he had referred to various authorities including the Registrar of Societies and found Bersih 2.0 to be unregistered, but the judge reminded him that he must show evidence before his claims of having done so will be considered.

“When you make allegations against somebody, you must remember this is court you need to prove it,” the judge reiterated.

Jamal, who is the fourth and last defence witness, was seen in court today wearing a black suit and dark blue shirt along with a black songkok or Muslim headgear.

He was brought in handcuffed as he was denied bail earlier this month pending a separate trial for allegedly fleeing police custody.

Throughout his cross-examination today by Maria’s lawyer, N. Surendran, Jamal repeatedly said he did not have with him in court the documents or evidence to support his allegations and allegedly defamatory statements.

On October 7, 2016, Maria had, as then Bersih 2.0 chair, sued Jamal for defamation.

Maria claimed that Jamal had made defamatory remarks on September 28 and October 4, 2016 by allegedly claiming that the Bersih 2.0 movement was infiltrated by the terrorist group Islamic State (IS).

She further claimed Jamal had allegedly accused the Bersih 2.0 group of plotting to encircle two international airports (KLIA and KLIA2) and key government buildings.

Today, Jamal disagreed that he did not have the facts when he claimed in 2016 that Bersih 2.0 and Maria were involved with IS.

When asked if he had proof of Bersih 2.0 and Maria’s alleged ties to IS, Jamal said: “Yes.”

However, he said the purported evidence was not in court.

As for his allegedly defamatory claim that those in the Bersih 5 rally on November 19, 2016 would encircle strategic spots such as the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and KLIA2, Jamal today insisted that it was not a “serious” accusation.

When asked if he had proof when he made the claim, Jamal again insisted he did and claimed he had handed it over to the police.

Jamal agreed when Surendran asked: “When you made the statement, you knew it may not be true?”

Throughout the hearing, Jamal repeatedly insisted that his multiple statements against Maria were not malicious.

As for Jamal’s remark that his Red Shirts movement would also show up in possibly a more aggressive manner than before on the day the Bersih 5.0 rally is held, Jamal denied having the intention to act aggressively.

“No, these are just words that were stated as provocation. After it happened, we didn’t do as stated,” he said, asserting that it was to “block Bersih from existing”.

“That is a statement that is not true, but that is my statement,” he said, confirming that he had made the statement to reporters.

When cross examined by his lawyer Mohammed Nasser Yusof, Jamal said: “Much of what I said — as I said before this — are my assumption and what my group and I do is a provocation to foil the Bersih rally”.

The hearing for the defamation suit concluded today.

PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and activist Hishamuddin Rais had previously testified as Maria’s witnesses.

Three subpoenaed as Jamal’s defence witness were Johor PKR chairman Hassan Karim, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

The High Court fixed August 13 for case management, during which the decision date is expected to be fixed.