Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is suing Muhyiddin Yassin for defamation for allegedly saying that he received a salary of RM15 million during his time as Selangor’s economic adviser.
Anwar, 75, filed the suit through SN Nair & Partners at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, naming Muhyiddin, 75, as the sole defendant.
According to the statement of claim, Anwar said that on Dec 5, Muhyiddin, who is Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman, had made the statement when speaking at the "Grand Finale Perikatan Nasional Padang Serai" ceramah in front of hundreds of people in Taman Selasih, Kulim, in support of PN candidate Azman Nasrudin ahead of the 15th general election.
The Pakatan Harapan chairman claimed that Muhyiddin’s speech at the ceramah was published or had led to its republication on TikTok under the name @beritakini8, which had received more than 1.1 million views, 6,061 comments, over 21,400 likes and 2,169 shares in addition to being "favourited" more than 1,360 times as of Dec 7, when Anwar filed the notice of demand.
Anwar said the statement was also quoted by Malaysiakini and published in an article on the portal entitled "MB’s aide to Muhyiddin: Anwar paid RM1 as S’gor economic adviser" on the same day (Dec 7).
He said that the following day (Dec 8), the entire speech at the ceramah was published or caused to be republished by Muhyiddin on his Facebook account under the name "Muhyiddin Yassin", and had received more than 42,000 views, 506 comments, more than 2,800 reactions and 48 shares as of the date that the suit was filed.
According to Anwar, the statement implied that he had been untrustworthy and dishonest regarding the receipt of millions of ringgit from the Selangor government as economic adviser, and had lied to the public by stating that he received only RM1 as salary for his role.
Anwar said the remarks were calculated to severely disparage and undermine his reputation and character, in addition to damaging his name and character as a firm supporter of the rule of law and social reforms.
"In making these remarks in his speech, it was clear the defendant had bad intentions by ignoring the official reply of former Selangor menteri besar (Abdul) Khalid Ibrahim in the Selangor state legislative assembly on March 27, 2012, where he clearly stated that my salary as the Selangor economic adviser was a symbolic RM1," he said in his statement of claim.
Anwar added that Muhyiddin had been reluctant to apologise and retract the statement and, in fact, had not removed it until now despite Anwar's denial.
Anwar is seeking general, aggravated, exemplary and compensatory damages, among others, from Muhyiddin, in addition to an injunction to restrain him from continuing to publish or disseminate similar defamatory statements.
Anwar’s lawyer SN Nair, when contacted by Bernama, said the suit was filed at 10.30am today.