Court defers verdict in Abdul Azeez's appeal in defamation suit against Guan Eng

19 May 2023 03:52pm
 Lim Guan Eng - BERNAMA
Lim Guan Eng - BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA - The Court of Appeal here has deferred its decision to another date in the former Baling member of Parliament Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim’s appeal over his defamation lawsuit against Lim Guan Eng.

Justice Datuk Azizah Nawawi, who chaired the three-member panel said the court need time to discuss the matter and will decide the appeal on another date to be fixed later. The court then fixed May 24 for case management to set the decision date.

Justices Azizah, Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya and Datuk Azimah Omar today heard submissions from Abdul Azeez’s lawyer Porres Royan and Lim’s counsel Datuk N. Mureli.

Abdul Azeez is appealing against the Penang High Court's decision on Dec 11, 2020, which dismissed his defamation suit against Lim, former Penang chief minister, in connection with the Penang undersea tunnel project.

Abdul Azeez filed the suit in March 2018 claiming that Lim had issued defamatory statements during a press conference at the Penang Chief Minister's Office on Feb 28, 2018, and during a Chinese New Year open house hosted by the Penang Development Corporation on the same day connecting Abdul Azeez to a payment of RM3 million as consultation fees from the developer of the undersea tunnel project.

He is seeking, among others, general and exemplary damages and other relief deemed fit by the court.

In the appeal today, Porres argued that the High Court judge Datuk Rosilah Yop’s reasoning in accepting Lim’s defence of plea of justification was flawed and plainly wrong.

He said the judge failed to appreciate that Lim had not adduced any proof whatsoever of the truth of the imputation that Abdul Azeez had received money from Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd in connection with the project.

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He said the High Court judge had found the statement made against Abdul Azeez was defamatory but she accepted Lim’s defence of plea of justification and dismissed the former’s suit after finding among others that Lim had posed questions to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as to why Abdul Azeez was not arrested.

Mureli, however, countered saying the statement made by his client was not against Abdul Azeez but was targeting other parties and MACC over the authority’s action to charge one person and not charge another person.

He said the defence of plea of justification applied to Lim as he was the then Penang Chief Minister who had the duty to raise and clarify issues which were relevant and relevant and of the public interest. - BERNAMA