KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court yesterday ruled that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has the legal right to sue Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming in his personal capacity over an uploaded picture of him (Najib) and his wife in a Facebook account.
Judicial Commissioner Siti Khadijah S. Hassan Badjenid also ruled that the alleged slanderous words uttered in reference to Najib were used in a personal and not official capacity.
She made the decision after dismissing a preliminary objection from Nga that Najib did not have the locus standi to sue in a personal capacity. Nga was represented by counsel Gobind Singh Deo.
“I am of the view that the impugned words refer to the first plaintiff (Najib) in his personal capacity. As such, he has the locus standi to file the suit,” she said.
Siti Khadijah said she was not bound by the March 1 decision of the Court of Appeal in the defamation suit of Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob against Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd that a well-known personality holding public office could not file a defamation suit against the media.
“The case at the Court of Appeal is different from today’s,” said Siti Khadijah after listening to arguments from Gobind Singh and counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun who represented Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
The court set April 11 to hear Najib and Rosmah’s application that their libel suit against Nga be decided via legal issue without a full trial as well as Nga’s application to strike out the suit.
On June 11 last year, Najib, in his personal capacity, and Rosmah, filed the suit against Nga after claiming the defendent uploaded the couples’s pictures with the status in the Facebook account under the name Nga Kor Ming on March 29.
The couple claimed the pictorial status contained their photos together with those of several Malaysian Cabinet ministers and top officials of Wisma Putra in a hotel room in China.
They claimed that Nga had published slanderous words in his Facebook account by uploading a libellous status which could be accessed freely by Internet users worldwide.
Najib claimed that the libellous words, among others, meant that he had abused his power and mandate as prime minister for personal interest, and that of his wife by allowing Rosmah to interfere in the government’s businesses and affairs.
On her part, Rosmah claimed that the slanderous words were to the effect that she was selfish in influencing her husband as prime minister and had abused her power other than having interests in the national administration system.
They are seeking compensation for general damages, exemplary damages and aggravated damages, interest, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.