REE issue, Marris: Sanusi takes Saifuddin to court

08 Aug 2023 07:52pm
Muhammad Sanusi (left) and Saifuddin - FILE PIX
Muhammad Sanusi (left) and Saifuddin - FILE PIX

ALOR SETAR - Caretaker Kedah chief minister, Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has filed a lawsuit against Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

The lawsuit is for Saifuddin's failure to apologise and compensate him for allegedly defaming him in two programmes in Kedah and Penang respectively.

The summons and statement of claim were filed in the Supreme Court of Alor Setar on Aug 3 by the law firm Tetuan Faizi & Associates.

According to the statement, Sanusi claimed Saifuddin made a defamatory comment on the theft of Rare Earth Elements (REE) and the Malaysian Road Record Information System (Marris).

"I sent a notice of claim (LOD) on July 20, requesting an apology, withdrawal of the defamation statement, and compensation for some of Saifuddin's statements."

"The statement was shared on social media and received media coverage, but Saifuddin refused to meet the demands of the claim," Sanusi stated on Tuesday.

Sanusi claimed that Saifuddin made defamatory statements at two events, a press conference after the Majlis Penyerahan Zakat Wakalah, and the Jelajah Perpaduan Madani & Pelancaran Jentera Perpaduan Kedah programme at Padang Awam Guar Chempedak, Yan, on July 15.

Sanusi states in his statement of claim that he never abuses or uses the provisions of Marris for reasons other than those permitted by law.

"The remaining Marris provisions are still in the state government's permanent savings, as reported in the financial statements and audited by the National Audit Department," he said.

Sanusi clarified that the fine was imposed on a third person who trespassed and stole the REE, despite allegations that he had been fined an RM500,000 compound for the theft of the mineral.

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"The third party was previously appointed by the Chief Minister Incorporated (MBI) to develop the forest farm area."

"The compound was issued not because the plaintiff (Muhammad Sanusi) stole the REE, but because the MBI held the forest farm permit," he explained.

Sanusi stated that the compound was issued as a result of a third person's intrusion and theft of REE in the forest farm, and that the third party has paid the compound.

"No written evidence or document states that the compound is specifically addressed to the plaintiff," he asserted.

Sanusi argued that the defamatory statement indirectly characterized him as a thief who stole land for personal and monetary gain.

Sanusi also stressed that the statements made by Saifuddin (defendants) portrayed him as an incompetent Chief Minister who was implicated in serious financial management issues in state administration.

Sanusi explained that the statement clearly refers to himself and causes his image as a politician to be tainted and viewed negatively by the society, and also paints him in a light of which he would use religion for personal gains.

He also claims to be under emotional stress and has received widespread criticism by the people on social media.

"The defendant's actions of making defamatory statements against me were clearly part of his campaign material and the political attacks directed towards Perikatan Nasional (PN) in order to give advantages to Pakatan Harapan (PH), Barisan Nasional (BN), and PKR in the upcoming state elections (PRN) in Kedah," stated Sanusi.

As a result, Sanusi, had asked that Saifuddin publicly apologise in print and electronic media within 14 days of the judgement date.

The plaintiff further sought that the defendant remove all videos related to the defamatory statements.

Sanusi also demanded an injunction barring Saifuddin or any of his agents from uploading, posting, or publishing statements or videos concerning the Marris and REE issues.

In addition, Muhammad Sanusi requested that the Court impose general, severe, and exemplary damages, which would be donated to the plaintiff's chosen charity organizations.

A five percent interest on the amount of damages decided up to the full settlement, expenses, and additional reliefs as the Court deems appropriate were also on the list of Sanusi's demands.