He said as a Malaysian holding the position of prime minister, Finance minister, member of parliament and as a public figure, he had the right to do so under the law.
Najib in his counterclaim filed yesterday to the statement of defence by former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik said there was no provision in law that deprived him of his right to sue the plaintiff.
On Oct 27 last year, Najib sued Dr Ling, alleging that the defendant had with malicious intent slandered him in a statement during a function at a university college here, which a news portal on Oct 3 last year uploaded through an article.
Dr Ling in his statement of defence filed on Dec 14 last year claimed among others that Najib did not have the legal standing to act against him as it would be frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.
Najib dismissed the defendant’s claim that he did not have the locus standi to file the defamation suit in his personal capacity.
He said the defendant had uttered the slanderous words based on general speculation, hearsay reported by the press and hearsay by individuals.
“There is no provision that gives the defendant the immunity to also slander the plaintiff with ‘defamatory words’ even if the plaintiff was being made a victim of vigorous slander by other parties.
“It is denied that the plaintiff as implied by the defamatory words had inappropriately or wrongfully accepted money that belonged to other people other than his own into his personal account,” he said.
In any case, said Najib, the defendant was not in a situation so dire as to prompt him to utter the alleged words without first referring to him about it.
“This shows that the defendant did not act bona fide or as an ‘elder statesman’. Being a former MCA president who had served the longest, the defendant should not have uttered such defamatory words without referring and getting an explanation from the plaintiff,” he said.
He said it was clear that Ling had acted mala fide to damage his image and reputation.
He added that the issue involving the RM2.6 billion donation was under investigation and he did not want to overtake other agencies that had been tasked to investigate the case but to let them carry out and complete the investigation.
The UMNO president also stressed that the sum was a personal donation and so any breach of the UMNO constitution or in the UMNO financial statements for 2013 and 2014 did not arise.
Whatever was used for the party, he said, was between the party and plaintiff and had nothing to do with the defendant; therefore Dr Ling did not have any legal basis to raise the issue or use it as one of his grounds for defence.
Najib said it was clear that Dr Ling’s defence could not sustain as it was not a valid ground. – Bernama