Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin obtained a second chance today to challenge Anwar Ibrahim’s defamation suit over a statement of immoral character filed against him 12 years ago.
A five-member panel of the Federal Court led by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim allowed Khairy’s appeal against the appellate court’s decision to strike out out his appeal in the lawsuit filed by Anwar.
“The case is remitted to the Court of Appeal to hear the merits of the case,” Abang Iskandar said.
He also fixed tomorrow for case management through online proceedings and ordered Anwar to pay Khairy RM30,000 in costs.
The other four Federal Court judges were P Nallini, Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, Hasnah Mohammed Hashim and Rhodzariah Bujang.
Today’s proceedings were also conducted online. Khairy was represented by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah while J Leela acted for Anwar.
Shafee had asked for RM100,000 in costs on grounds that the amount of preparation for the case at the Federal Court level was extensive, but Leela said the amount was too high and asked for RM10,000 instead.
In April last year, Khairy obtained leave from the Federal Court to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision which struck out his appeal after ruling that there was ambiguity in the notice of appeal.
Anwar, who is PKR president, sued Khairy, who was then youth and sports minister and Umno Youth vice-chief on March 7, 2008, alleging that Khairy had uttered defamatory words against him during a ceramah at Lembah Pantai on Feb 20 the same year and caused the publication of a video clip titled “Anwar and kin no threat” on news portals.
In September 2017, High Court judge Azizul Azmi Adnan allowed Anwar’s suit against Khairy and found Khairy liable for defamation. He ordered Khairy to pay Anwar RM150,000 in general damages.
Azizul also dismissed Khairy’s application to amend his statement of defence to say that his remark was a fair comment.
Khairy subsequently filed the appeal against the High Court ruling for finding him liable and rejecting his application to amend his statement of defence after the trial.
In February 2018, the Court of Appeal struck out Khairy’s appeal after allowing the application by Anwar’s counsel to annul the notice of appeal.