KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 2019 : Terengganu’s Sultanah Nur Zahirah has applied to the High Court for her defamation suit against Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown and two others to be decided via summary judgment.
Her lawyer Datuk Haziq Pillay Abdullah told reporters after case management in chambers today before justice Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim that he filed the application on May 13, under Order 14 of the Rules of Court 2012.
“We made the application based on the facts stated in the affidavit. The judge will rule whether first defendant Brown’s statement (Sarawak Report) which was printed by the second defendant (Vinlin Press Sdn Bhd) and published by the third defendant Gerakbudaya Enterprise (Chong Ton Sin) are defamatory.
“If the court allows the application, the plaintiff would not have to give evidence in a trial and the burden of proof lies on the defendants,” he said.
He said the defendants filed their reply to the application on May 24, which the plaintiff will respond by June 12.
“The court fixed June 17 for case management, whereby the judge will give us direction for us to file the submission for this matter. After that, there would be a date for decision,” the lawyer said.
In the defamation suit filed on Nov 21, 2018, Sultanah Nur Zahirah claimed that Brown’s statement in her ‘Sarawak Report’ book in August 2018 could be taken to mean that she was involved in corrupt practices and had interfered in the administrative affairs of Terengganu.
She claimed that the book had also portrayed her as having used her status to influence the establishment of Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) and helped Jho Low or Low Taek Jho to become the adviser of the sovereign wealth fund.
Sultanah Nur Zahirah claimed that Brown’s statement was defamatory as she had never involved herself in the administration of the state government and establishment of TIA.
The statement, she claimed, had tarnished her reputation in the public eye since it was public knowledge that 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was previously known as TIA.
The plaintiff is claiming general damages of RM100 million from each defendant and seeking for the second defendant to withdraw the book and for the third defendant to stop further publication of the book.
Meanwhile, the three defendants denied presenting the plaintiff as corrupt.
Brown also contended that Sarawak Report never suggested the plaintiff as having intervened in the state government’s affairs with regard to 1MDB. – Bernama