- Advertisement -

No go, Mahathir's lawyer says on Anwar's extension bid for response to defence

Rafique Rashid says Dr Mahathir Mohamad already granted Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim a two-week extension and wants the case to be heard immediately.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
2 minute read
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad has rejected Anwar Ibrahim's request for an extension to respond to the former prime minister's demand notice for him to withdraw his allegedly defamatory statements made at PKR's 2023 special national congress.

His lawyer, Rafique Rashid, said Anwar's lawyer had sent him and the court a letter requesting an additional month to file a defence notice.

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Rafique said the letter was sent on May 29, two days before the scheduled case management of the first hearing today.

"We met Mahathir on the same day, and he objected to an extension," he said when met at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya.

Anwar through law firm Thomas Philip had previously requested an extension until April 17 to respond to the demand notice filed by Mahathir on March 27.

Rafique added that Mahathir refused to grant an extension for two main reasons.

Firstly, the former prime minister had already granted a two-week extension when requested by Anwar before.

Secondly, the defamation suit runs under the radar of public knowledge and involves the credibility of a public figure.

"So Mahathir requests an expedited process and did not grant any further extension."

On May 4, Mahathir filed a defamation suit against Anwar, seeking RM150 million in damages related to the prime minister's speech at the PKR special national congress in March.

Mahathir said the statements are defamatory and depict him in a bad light, unless Anwar is able to provide evidence that he had in fact obtained billions of ringgit and transferred the money abroad, and that he did not pay taxes.

He added that although Anwar had made similar accusations before, he is now the prime minister and it is his responsibility to not make accusations without proper evidence.

Rafique said that the court had also given Anwar and his legal team two weeks from now to file a defence notice.