AG obtains permission to start contempt proceedings against Malaysiakini

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The contempt proceedings were initiated after readers of the portal left comments on a story it published on June 9 titled ‘CJ orders all courts to be fully operational from July 1’.

PUTRAJAYA (June 17): A three-member Federal Court bench has today granted leave for Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun (pictured) to initiate contempt proceedings against news portal Malaysiakini.

The panel, which was led by President of Court of Appeal Justice Datuk Rohana Yusof, fixed July 2 to hear the merits of the application.

Besides Justice Rohana, the other judges on the bench were Federal Court judges Tan Sri Mohd Zawawi Mohd Salleh and Justice Puan Sri Zaleha Yusof.

Senior federal counsel Alice Loke, who is head of the civil division of the Attorney General’s Chambers, appeared for Idrus while counsel Surendra Ananth appeared for Malaysiakini.

Both Loke and Surendra confirmed with theedgemarkets.com that leave had been granted to Idrus.

The contempt proceedings were initiated after readers of the portal left comments on a story it published on June 9 titled ‘CJ orders all courts to be fully operational from July 1’.

Idrus, who was formerly a Federal Court judge, had filed the ex-parte application to start contempt of court proceedings on Monday against Malaysiakini and its editor-in-chief.

He claimed in an affidavit that five comments left on the story had “clearly meant that the judiciary committed wrongdoings, is involved in corruption, does not uphold justice and compromised its integrity”.

“The comments have undermined public confidence towards the judiciary and are clearly intended to bring the administration of justice by the judiciary into disrepute,” he added.

He claimed that by enabling the publication of these comments, Malaysiakini is deemed to have published these comments and has thus committed contempt of court.

Malaysiakini reported that officers from the Bukit Aman police headquarters had taken the statement of its editor-in-chief Steven Gan over the matter.

According to the portal, the case is being investigated under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and the Penal Code.

Gan said it would cooperate with the police and consult its lawyers on the contempt proceedings.