Karpal disputes Penang Umno chief’s capacity to sue for party
KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — Umno is not a provocative party, the High Court hearing the defamation suit filed by Penang Umno liaison chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman against Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was told today.
The party also had no ill-intention against the DAP state government, said Zainal Abidin, 52, when cross-examined by lawyer Jagdeep Singh Deo, representing Lim.
Earlier he refuted the contents of an article written by a journalist from The Malaysian Insider, Clara Chooi Ai Leng, on an attempt to set fire to the DAP office, on August 18 last year.
Zainal Abidin, who filed the suit on behalf of Penang Umno, said he only knew about Lim’s allegation on the attempt to set fire to the DAP office from newspaper reports. The statement by Lim had angered the Muslims, he added.
Zainal Abidin told the court that he was informed that Lim had uttered the defamatory words when interviewed by Chooi in front of other journalists on August 18 last year after the National Finance Council meeting.
Lim claimed that Umno was involved in the attempt to set fire to the Penang DAP premises, he added.
Meanwhile, lawyer Karpal Singh, also representing Lim, objected to Zainal Abidin’s filing of the suit on behalf of Umno.
This arose when Zainal Abidin told the court that there was no official declaration by Umno for him to initiate the legal action.
Following this, Judge Amelia Tee Hong Geok Abdullah set Wednesday for submission by both parties on whether to proceed with the suit or not.
Zainal Abidin, represented by lawyer Datuk Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yonoos, filed the suit on October 24 last year.
Apart from Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, the other defendants named are Parti Keadilan Rakyat as the owner of the electronic news portal Keadilan Daily and newspaper Suara Keadilan, Segmen Fleksibel Sdn Bhd as the publishing company of Keadilan Daily and Suara Keadilan, and its chief sub-editor, Fazallah Pit.
In his statement of claim, Zainal Abidin alleged that on July 3, Lim had released a press statement via email and later published it in Keadilan Daily on July 3 and Suara Keadilan on July 5.
Zainal Abidin said Lim’s statement, among others, meant that he was purportedly involved in trying to overthrow the Penang chief minister through illegal means as well as conceal his involvement in a demonstration at Komtar and the Penang Bridge on July 1.
He said that on August 18, Lim allegedly issued another hurtful statement in front a group of journalists, which was published on news website The Malaysian Insider on the same day.
Zainal Abidin is seeking RM30 million in compensation, interest, cost and other relief deemed appropriate by the court and an injunction to prevent all the defendants from continuing to issue or publish the allegedly defamatory statements. — Bernama