Najib withdraws suit against Tony Pua over RUU355

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 30): Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today withdrew a suit he filed against Damansara Member of Parliament Tony Pua Kiam Wee over a video clip on the tabling of the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill or RUU355.

This followed a decision by High Court judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab in allowing Najib to withdraw the suit with no liberty to file afresh, and also ordered the former UMNO president to pay costs of RM30,000 to Pua.

Pua had earlier objected to Najib’s application to withdraw the suit on grounds he had obtained leave from the Federal Court to appeal against an interim injunction granted to Najib and also to question a judicial notice which stated Najib did not commit an offence involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which is of public interest and could affect other summons cases.

In the judgment, Mohd Zaki said the withdrawal of the suit did not prejudice Pua and the injunction obtained by Najib was only temporary.

“In this case, the plaintiff (Najib) submitted an interlocutory application, which is the interim injunction to prevent the defendant from continuing to produce the alleged defamatory video or words,” he added.

Today’s proceeding was attended by Najib’s lawyer, Nor Hazira Abu Haiyan, and lawyer Tan Ch'eng Leong, who acted for Pua.

Last Feb 14, the Court of Appeal dismissed Pua's appeal to lift an interim interparte injunction obtained by Najib over the video clip which the former prime minister claimed was defamatory.

According to the Court's three-man bench, investigations were carried out by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Royal Malaysia Police, Bank Negara and the Attorney-General's Chambers and the results, which have been disclosed to the public by the Attorney-General and the MACC, cleared Najib of any criminal wrongdoing.

On April 21, 2017, Najib , in his personal capacity, sued Pua  alleging that Pua had made defamatory statements against him in the live video relating to the tabling of a Private Member's Bill to amend the RUU355. 

The former prime minister claimed the video clip uploaded by Pua or his agents on the defendant's official Facebook site, lasting two minutes and 21 seconds and entitled 'BN Govt abandons all Bills to give precedence to PAS’ RUU355 Private Member's Bill', could be accessed widely and freely on the internet.

Najib also claimed the live video contained words referring specifically to him and carried the meaning that he abused his power by giving orders through the Cabinet to Dewan Rakyat Speaker to give way to Marang MP to propose his private bill and set aside other bills.

This was the sixth suit withdrawn by Najib.

The first suit to be withdrawn, which was on May 22, was against former Transport Minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik over the publication of an article in a news portal which alleged the former prime minister abused funds belonging to 1MDB.

On May 28, Najib withdrew his defamation suit against Pua and portal owner, Chan Chee Kong, also over the 1MDB issue, while on June 1, he withdrew his suit against Harakah and Harakahdaily over allegations of misuse of 1MDB funds.

Najib also withdrew a suit he and UMNO executive-secretary Datuk Ab Rauf Yusoh filed against Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd and two others over a series of readers' posts published on the website in 2014.

Last June 26, Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor withdrew their defamation suit against PKR vice-president Mohd Rafizi Ramli and an online news portal owner over oil subsidy. — Bernama