KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik has maintained in a High Court here that an affidavit by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should be admissible in the civil suit filed by Prime Minister against the former MCA president
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, however, contended that the affidavit should be removed, saying it was hearsay evidence and inadmissible.
On Thursday, Dr Ling’s lawyer Yeoh Cho Kheong asked the court to reject Najib’s application to remove Dr Mahathir’s affidavit, saying that the Prime Minister’s contention that it constituted hearsay was misconceived.
Dr Mahathir had affirmed an affidavit on Feb 15 to support Dr Ling’s bid to strike out the libel suit filed by the Prime Minister against the MCA leader.
Yeoh argued that the affidavit was relevant and necessary to show and confirm that Dr Mahathir had made various statements including asking for Najib’s resignation but the former prime minister was not sued for defamation.
“If the object of the evidence is to establish the fact that the statement was made, then it is not hearsay and is admissible,” argued Yeoh.
He said Dr Ling wanted to show that despite instances of public criticism from various other parties against Najib, only the veteran MCA leader had been singled out for prosecution, which clearly supports his defence on abuse of process.
However, Najib’s lead counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun submitted that the court may exercise its inherent power to remove Dr Mahathir’s affidavit on the grounds that the former premier had stated facts which were not within his personal knowledge but were hearsay evidence.
“Dr Mahathir’s affidavit which is based on the information and belief but had not specified the sources of the information should not be admitted and considered by the court,” said Mohd Hafarizam.
He said the courts have been consistent in not allowing evidence, which is highly contentious and its admissibility is an issue.
“We submit that the fact that Dr Mahathir filed an affidavit in the present suit of which he is not a party and alleging something without stating the sources, it is nothing but a meddlesome interlopers as this is purely an action directed to a particular person,” he said.
Speaking to reporters later, Mohd Hafarizam said Dr Mahathir’s affidavit had exhibited postings from his blog where those “writings” did not contain documents to support his contentions.
High Court judge Justice Nor Bee Ariffin has set July 18 to decide Najib’s application to expunge Dr Mahathir’s affidavit.
Najib is suing Dr Ling over his remarks, which allegedly implied that he had misused public funds for his personal interests.
In his lawsuit, Najib said that an online news portal had on Oct 3 last year published an article saying Dr Ling had made slanderous statements against him while attending a ceremony at the Tunku Abdul Rahman University College.
In his statement of claim filed on Oct 27 last year, Najib is seeking damages and an injunction to restrain Dr Ling from further speaking or publishing any similar defamatory words against him.