KUALA LUMPUR (March 27): Lim Guan Eng has filed a lawsuit against Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin over the former prime minister's claim that Lim cancelled tax breaks for Yayasan Albukhary during his tenure as the finance minister.
Lim filed the writ of summons through his lawyers at Guok Partnership with the High Court on Monday (March 27).
In his statement of claim seen by The Edge, Lim said that Muhyiddin had made defamatory statements against him on three occasions between March 9 and 12.
The statement made on March 12 was from a media interview after Muhyiddin's winding-up speech at a Bersatu event at Menara PGRM, Kuala Lumpur.
The statements and the video were published and uploaded on the Bersatu president's Facebook page, which the DAP chairman said were not only read by many on social media, but also picked up by local media publications with a wide readership.
In a gist, the Bagan Member of Parliament claims that the defamatory statements implied that he had abused his position and power as the then finance minister by authorising or instructing the Inland Revenue Board to impose tax and penalties on a charitable organisation when it should not be taxed. This also implied that he had committed a criminal offence while in office.
Lim also claims that the Pagoh MP's statements implied that he was racist, anti-Malay and anti-Islam, and was intentionally targeting Yayasan Albukhary, an Islamic charitable organisation.
The former Penang chief minister said that the statements had damaged his reputation as a respectable politician in Malaysia, embarrassed him, and caused him distress.
He said that Muhyiddin's statements were proven wrong when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told Parliament on March 21 that Lim had not revoked Yayasan Albukhary's tax exemption status.
He added that he will adduce all necessary evidence in the court to prove that Muhyiddin's statements were untrue.
Lim said that he had given Muhyiddin opportunities to retract and apologise for the comments, but the Perikatan Nasional coalition chairman had refused to do so. Lim issued a letter of demand to Muhyiddin on March 15, but Muhyiddin stood his ground.
Lim said that Muhyiddin was a "political rival" who made the comments maliciously to deflect attention from the graft charges that he faces in the court, and this was clear from the timing the statements were issued.
Lim is seeking, among others, general, aggravated and punitive damages to be determined by the court.
He is also seeking an injunction for Muhyiddin or his agents from reiterating similar statements, and for the statements to be removed from Muhyiddin's Facebook account.
Lim is also seeking an apology and retraction of all statements through Muhyiddin's Facebook and Twitter account, as well as publishing the apology on all major newspapers and online portals.