KUALA LUMPUR: PKR vice-president Mohd Rafizi Ramli and an online news portal owner are counter-suing the Prime Minister and his wife over their defamation suit in relation to the issue of removal of oil subsidies.
Mohd Rafizi and Chan Chee Kong said that they have been victimised by the filing of the civil suit against them and that it was an abuse of the court process.
The duo said the suit represents an attempt by both plaintiffs to stifle and stymie legitimate political discourse. Both claimed to have suffered damages due to their actions.
Mohd Rafizi said the suit was as a result of his fervent criticism of the Federal Government on the fuel subsidy issue.
In the counterclaim filed on May 29, they are seeking for general damages, costs and further relief deemed fit by the court.
On Tuesday, High Court judge Justice Noraini Abdul Rahman set Aug 5 for parties over their status to comply with orders pertaining to the suit.
Lawyer Ng Siau Sun, who appeared for both defendants, had informed the judge in chambers of their intention to amend their statement of defence and counterclaim.
Justice Noraini ordered both defendants to amend their defence and counterclaim by July 8.
Speaking to reporters here, lawyer Choo Shi Jin, who appeared for Najib and his wife, said they have been ordered to reply to the amendments by July 22.
In their suit, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife said Mohd Rafizi had delivered a slanderous speech against them at a forum in Bandar Tun Razak on Nov 22 last year on issues relating to oil subsidies.
Najib said Mohd Rafizi had uttered offending words in respect of his office. His wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor said Mohd Rafiziâ€™s words implied that she had committed a criminal act.
They said the recording of the speech had been uploaded by Media Rakyatâ€™s owner Chan Chee Kong onto YouTube, Media Rakyatâ€™s webpage and its Facebook page.
Chan is the sole proprietor doing business under the name and style of MR Multimedia.
In the suit filed in April this year, Najib said the statement meant he had unlawfully stolen the peopleâ€™s money in connection with the removal of oil subsidies for his personal gain.
In the statement of claim, the couple are seeking from the duo general, aggravated and exemplary damages for slander and libel.
The couple also want Chan to remove the recording from YouTube, Media Rakyatâ€™s webpage and Facebook page with immediate effect from the date of judgment.
In the statement of defence filed on May 29, the defendants relied on qualified privilege and fair comment on a matter of public interest.