KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court here today allowed the prime minister’s press secretary Datuk Seri Tengku Sharifuddin Tengku Ahmad to strike out two of his four press statements contained in former Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir lawsuit against him.
Judicial Commissioner Datuk Roslan Abu Bakar decided that the alleged defamatory words in the two press statements dated April 15 and 20 did not refer to Mukhriz.
“Therefore the actions are not sustainable,” he held.
However, the judge maintained the third and fourth press statements issued on April 23 and 26 as only a full trial could determine whether the statements were defamatory or not.
Mukhriz, 51, filed the suit on May 3, last year, alleging that Tengku Sharifuddin had issued four defamatory statements against him on April 15, 20, 23 and 26.
The statements were issued under the headings, ‘Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Statement on Donation Confirmation by Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister’; ‘Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Statement on Former DPM’s Reuters Interview’; ‘Mukhriz Mahathir Statement: Response by Prime Minister’s Press Secretary’; and ‘Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Statement on Tun Mahathir Mohamad and Mukhriz Mahathir’.
The court fixed March 14 for next case menagement.
Tengku Sharifuddin was represented by counsel Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos while Mukhriz, by his lawyer, Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla.
Jahaberdeen told reporters that he would discuss with his client on whether or not to appeal against today’s decision.
Tengku Sharifuddin filed the application to strike out Mukhriz’s suit and to remove all his press statements contained in the suit, on Oct 11 last year.
Mukhriz in his writ of summons alleged that the statements implied that Dr Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had conspired in a malicious campaign to topple a democratically-elected government and that he was involved directly in the plot between Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin.
Tengku Sharifuddin in his statement of defence, denied that the four statements had disparaged Mukhriz and stressed that the statements were to explain and counter false accusations against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The defendant said he bore no malice in issuing the media statements which were published for information and in the interest of the Malaysian people.
He said he had a duty and responsibility to defend the prime minister and counter false accusations for the people to have an accurate picture and facts, which had been deliberately twisted by irresponsible parties for political interest. – BERNAMA