KUALA LUMPUR (April 27): Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has filed a suit against former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for defamation.
The suit was filed on April 20 in the High Court, through the firm of Messrs Shahrul Hamidi and Haziq, where the Umno president claimed that Dr Mahathir, who is Parti Pejuang Tanah Air's chairman, had defamed him in alleging that Ahmad Zahid had met the two-time prime minister to seek his help to resolve Ahmad Zahid's ongoing court cases.
Dr Mahathir had claimed that Ahmad Zahid had come to his home with two or three others just after the 14th general election, when the 97-year-old had a chance to be the premier for the second time, to seek his help to stop the ongoing investigation against Ahmad Zahid.
This is something the Umno president has denied and claimed to have defamed him.
The former premier allegedly said this at a Pejuang event in relation to the Johor state election at Yayasan Perdana, Putrajaya on Feb 23 this year and the recording of the video is present on several news portals, including Astro Awani.
Ahmad Zahid claimed that the words uttered were untrue, unwarranted, unsubstantiated and mischievous on his part as a plaintiff in the suit.
Such defamatory words meant that he would resort to shortcuts with regard to his ongoing criminal cases, that he is considered a convict whereas the trial is ongoing, that he had sought Dr Mahathir's help to resolve his problems, that he should not be respected and is not exemplary.
It also meant that Ahmad Zahid wanted to use his position on the then prime minister to influence the latter to meddle in the investigations and enforcement against him, that he wanted to meddle with the administration of justice, and that he had abused his power and position to ensure the prosecution or action against him is stopped.
“I have never met Dr Mahathir for help to resolve my cases,” the Umno president emphasised.
By innuendo, he also complained the words meant that he has a bad image, that he did not respect the authorities or the justice system in Malaysia, that he does not have credibility, is involved in corrupt practices, is a liar and cannot be trusted and hence unfit to be a leader.
Ahmad Zahid also complained that the words uttered by Dr Mahathir were laced with malice, false and aimed at tarnishing his reputation as a party leader and the Barisan Nasional chairman.
The former deputy prime minister added that his solicitors had sent a notice of demand to Dr Mahathir last Feb 25 to cease and desist in making the statements, and make an open apology, but the former premier through his solicitors from Messrs Haidir & Co through a reply dated March 2 denied the allegation and that the words were defamatory.
Hence, the Umno president who is also the Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament is seeking aggravated, exemplary and general damages and costs of the action.
Ahmad Zahid is also seeking an interim and a permanent injunction to bar Dr Mahathir from repeating those statements on various social media, and the removal of such recordings from social media.
Today (Wednesday, April 27) is scheduled for case management of the suit before High Court deputy registrar Nor Afidah Idris.
Following case management, Nor Afidah fixed June 17 for the hearing of the interim injunction application and case management of the suit.
Dr Mahathir's solicitors from Messrs Haidir & Co in a press release said the former premier denies all allegations made in the defamation suit filed by Ahmad Zahid as the plaintiff.
“Our client reiterates that what was said is the truth and reserves his right to possibly file a counterclaim,” the firm representing Dr Mahathir added.
This is the second suit filed by Ahmad Zahid as the Umno president against another political party leader as he last month filed a suit against Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for defamation over a similar allegation when Muhyiddin was the prime minister.