Teresa Kok's defamation suit hearing to start from July 29

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 15): The High Court has fixed July 29 to 31 to hear the defamation suit filed by Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok against Pertubuhan Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) president, Datuk Azwanddin Hamzah.

Lawyer Sankara N Nair, who acted for Kok, said the Judicial Commissioner of the High Court, Rohani Ismail, fixed the dates in chambers today.

Nair told reporters that the High Court did not make any suggestion to the parties to settle the matter out of court, thus the case will proceed with hearing as scheduled.

The suit has also been fixed for further case management on May 24, he added.

Kok filed the suit on Jan 8 and named Azwanddin in his personal capacity as the first defendant and as JMM president, as the second defendant.

In her statement of claim, Kok said Azwanddin had, at a rally held on Dec 25 last year at Dataran Seni Klang, Selangor, made a speech as JMM president that had, among others, contained defamatory words and lies about her.

She said the speech was subsequently carried by online media portals, both locally and internationally.

She contended that the speech, in its ordinary and natural meaning, was understood to mean, among others, that she was a racist, had abused her power as a Minister, had acted unfairly, had no principles, and was a dishonest Minister with no ethics.

Kok claimed that the speech was untrue, malicious, deliberate and made without due regard to the truth of the matter and was seriously prejudicial to her reputation.

She further claimed that the defendant had caused the publication of the speech with the intention and motive of defaming her in her personal and official capacity, which was mala fide and malicious.

The Minister contended that the speech was published with the purpose of inciting the public and to create ill-will towards her and was conveyed irresponsibly to the public for cheap publicity, to create chaos and possible physical and other harm to her.

As a result of the defendants' act, Kok said it had caused her distress, anxiety and embarrassment.

Kok said she had on Dec 26 and 31, 2018, sent a letter of demand through her solicitor demanding the defendants retract, apologise and pay damages to her, but the demand was ignored.

She is seeking general, aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as an injunction to restrain the defendants either through agents and/ or any other persons from further uttering, writing or publishing the same speech, and also costs.