KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today set March 29 for further submissions pertaining to an application by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to remove the defence on fair comment by PKR vice-president Mohd Rafizi Ramli and another person in the couple’s suit over the issue of oil subsidy.
Lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, representing Najib and Rosmah, told reporters that Judge Datuk Noraini Abdul Rahman fixed the date to enable both parties to file comprehensive written submissions on the matter.
Najib and Rosmah had applied to remove the defence of fair comment by Mohd Rafizi and Media Rakyat portal owner Chan Chee Kong on grounds that the words uttered were a statement of facts and not of a fair comment.
On April 16, last year, the couple filed the suit claiming that Mohd Rafizi had made a disparaging statement against them at a forum on oil subsidy in Bandar Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, on Nov 22, 2014.
They alleged that Mohd Rafizi’s speech was recorded by Media Rakyat and uploaded by Chan or his assistant on YouTube and the portal.
Najib and Rosmah further alleged that Chan had also shared the recording on Media Rakyat’s Facebook account which could be freely accessed by Internet users worldwide.
They said Chan failed to practise responsible journalism by not verifying or investigating the authenticity of the accusations in the statement before posting them.
Najib and Rosmah are seeking, among others, general, aggravated and exemplary damages deemed fit by the court, interest and costs.
In their statement of defence filed on May 29, last year, the defendants relied on fair comment, qualified privilege and on a matter of public interest.