Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin claims that his speech at the Perikatan Nasional (PN) grand finale event at the 15th general election last year was not slander but fair comment.
He said the speech was part of a political campaign to support the PN candidate contesting for the Padang Serai parliamentary seat in GE15.
He said this in his defence statement, which he filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court three days ago in response to a defamation suit against him by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Muhyiddin said that Anwar, as the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman and government leader, should not be offended by the criticism and questions raised in his speech.
"The plaintiff (Anwar) should openly and wholeheartedly answer the questions raised and deny any allegations that he claims are false," Muhyiddin added.
He said both he and Anwar were public figures and party leaders against whom allegations and accusations are often hurled.
The PN chairman also claimed he had no knowledge of or control over TikTok account "@beritakini8", which uploaded a video of his speech.
"The entire speech at the talk was reproduced on my Facebook account under the name 'Muhyiddin Yassin'. I do not personally control or upload any material to my Facebook account," he said.
Muhyiddin added that he did not manage or have control or authority over any publication of the statements in the speech which was published by MalaysiaKini with the title "MB's aide to Muhyiddin: Anwar paid RM1 as S'gor economic adviser".
In the suit, Anwar, 75, claimed that on Dec 5, Muhyiddin made slanderous remarks against him in a speech at Taman Selasih, Kulim, at an event in support of PN candidate Azman Nasrudin which was attended by a large crowd.
He is seeking, among others, general damages, aggravated damages, exemplary damages and an injunction to prevent Muhyiddin from continuing to publish or distribute similar statements.