High Court tells politicians to settle defamatory case via mediation

KHAIRAH N. KARIM


KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today advised Umno executive secretary Datuk Ab Rauf Yusoh and Masjid Tanah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) division chief registrar Ridwan Abu Samah to settle their legal dispute through mediation.

The legal action was brought on by Rauf against Ridwan over an alleged defamatory Facebook status and image posted by the latter on his Facebook page.

Lawyer Nurshafiqa Balqish Jaffri who represented Rauf said judge Datuk John Louis O’hara made the suggestion after the matter came up for case management in chambers today.

She said the court has fixed April 21 for another case management for both parties to update the court on the progress of the mediation process.

“The court has fixed a five-day trial from Oct 9, if mediation fails,” Nurshafiqa said, adding that her client will file an application to strike out a part of the defence’s (Ridwan) statement tomorrow.

Ridwan was represented by Ilyani Noor Khuszairy who was also present during the proceedings.

The plaintiff (Rauf) had in his personal capacity filed the suit on Jan 5 claiming that Ridwan had posted a status and picture on his Facebook page under the name “Wan Motor” and “Ppbm Masjid Tanah” on Nov 11 and 12 last year, which contained alleged defamatory remarks against the former.

In his statement of claim, Rauf who is also Masjid Tanah Umno division chief, alleged that the status had among others were understood to mean that he was a dishonest person and had abused his position to mislead and to win people’s hearts, especially those residing in Masjid Tanah, Melaka.

He also claimed that the words published by the defendant, widely accessible via the Internet, had injured his reputation.

Rauf is seeking for an injunction to prevent the defendant or his agents to re-publish the defamatory words, and an apology to be published in the newspapers and magazines.

He is also seeking for general and exemplary damages and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.

Ridwan had in his defence statement on Feb 8 denied that he had published the status and image on Facebook as claimed by the plaintiff.