The Kuala Lumpur High Court today dismissed Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s application to prevent the republication and dissemination of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statements which the former deputy prime minister claims are defamatory against him.
When contacted, Zahid’s lawyer Shahrul Fazli Kamarulzaman said judge Rozana Ali Yusoff dismissed the application by the Umno president to obtain an interim injunction on the grounds that the issues raised by the plaintiff and defendant needed to be decided through trial.
Mahathir’s lawyer, Mior Nor Haidir Suhaimi, meanwhile, said the court dismissed the plaintiff’s application after ruling that this was not the stage for the parties to argue the merits of the case.
“The court is of the opinion that the plaintiff (Zahid) needs to prove that the statements made by Mahathir are not true. Therefore, the interim application was dismissed with costs of RM5,000 and case management set for Aug 23,” Mior said.
On April 20, Zahid, 69, filed a defamation suit against Mahathir over allegations that he had sought to use his position to influence the latter to interfere in his ongoing court proceedings.
In his statement of claim, Zahid said that on Oct 19, 2018, he was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court with 12 charges of breach of trust, eight of corruption and 27 of money laundering with all of the charges tried in the High Court.
Zahid claimed that Mahathir had issued defamatory statements with malicious intent against him at the Pejuang Aspirasi launch event in conjunction with the 15th Johor state election at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya on Feb 23.
The Bagan Datuk MP claimed the statements meant that he was a person who used shortcuts to resolve and postpone the trial of his ongoing criminal case, and had used his position to influence Mahathir to interfere in the criminal trial and investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies against him.
Zahid also filed an interim injunction application for the defendant, either personally or through his officers and representatives, to retract the statements and prevent them from publishing, distributing or disseminating the statements or similar defamatory statements on any social media platform.
He also sought an order for the defendant to delete, edit and stop the publication of parts of a video recording of the event on YouTube and Astro Awani’s Facebook account, as well as the TikTok account of MalaysiaGazette TV.
Zahid also applied for an interim injunction order directing the defendant to write to the publishers, editors, operators and owners of online news portals or social media platforms to stop publishing the statements in question.