Court dumps Terengganu from libel suit against PAS quartet
KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — The High Court today ruled that the Terengganu government has no legal right to proceed with a suit against PAS Batu Buruk assemblyman Dr Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi and three others over an article relating to the state’s purchase of school uniforms.
Judge Datin Yeoh Wee Siam made the ruling in chambers after allowing the preliminary objection raised by Syed Azman and the three other defendants to strike out the Terengganu government as the party in the suit.
Counsel Mohamed Hanipa Maidin told the media the judge had ruled that the Terengganu government had no locus standi to proceed with the suit.
On December 15, last year, the Terengganu government, Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said and Mek Hawa Abdul Rahman and Hamie Azreen Ami Nordin, who were given the contracts for the supply of school uniforms and stationery had filed the suit against the four.
They named Dr Syed Azman, Harakah’s permit owner; Datuk Mustafa Ali; its chief editor, Ahmad Lutfi Othman; and printer, Angkatan Edaran Enterprise Sdn Bhd, as defendants.
With the ruling, the other three plaintiffs remained in the suit.
However, Mohamed Hanipa said Justice Yeoh had directed both parties to file submissions on July 30 on whether the second defendant, the Terengganu mentri besar, had filed the suit in his personal capacity or in his capacity as mentri besar.
He said the judge would give her decision on the matter on August 28.
In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs asserted that Syed Azman had defamed them through an article titled “Seleweng RM30 juta Bantuan Sekolah? (Embezzlement of RM30 million in School Aid?)”, which was published in PAS organ Harakah in its November 11-13, 2011 issue.
They claimed that the defendants had maliciously printed and published the article, which they (plaintiffs) understood referred to them.
The plaintiffs also claimed that the article inferred that the state government and the mentri besar were not transparent in giving out contracts under the state’s school aid programme.
They are seeking general, special, aggravated and exemplary damages, costs and an injunction to prevent the defendants from continuing to publish the alleged defamatory article. — Bernama