KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 2019 : The High Court today set five days from Nov 25 for the hearing of a suit filed by the Sultanah of Terengganu, Sultanah Nur Zahirah, against the founder and editor of Sarawak Report, Clare Rewcastle-Brown, and two others over alleged defamatory statements in the book, “The Sarawak Report – The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose’.
Counsel Vishu Kumar, who represented Sultanah Nur Zahirah, told reporters the dates were set by Judge Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim today during case management in chambers.
He said nine witnesses, including Sultanah Nur Zahirah and Rewcastle-Brown, would be called to testify at the hearing set for Nov 25 to 29.
The proceeding today was also attended by counsel Americk Singh Sidhu, who appeared on behalf of Rewcastle-Brown and the two other defendants.
Sultanah Nur Zahirah filed the suit on Nov 21 last year after naming Rewcastle-Brown or Clare Louise Brown, Gerakbudaya Enterprise publisher Chong Ton Sin as well as the printing company, Vinlin Press Sdn Bhd, as the first to the third defendants, in that order.
In her statement of claim, Sultanah Nur Zahirah alleged that Rewcastle-Brown had used defamatory statements in the book which was published around August last year, printed by Vinlin Press.
Sultanah Nur Zahirah alleged that the defamatory statements implied that she, the plaintiff, was involved in corrupt practices and interfered in the administration of Terengganu as well as used her role to influence the setting up of the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) and assisted Jho Low or Low Taek Jho to be the advisor of TIA.
Sultanah Nur Zahirah alleged that the statements were defamatory as she was not involved in the administration of the state nor the setting up of TIA, and claimed that the statements had caused her embarrassment and tarnished her reputation in the eyes of the public.
She said it was common knowledge that 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was earlier known as TIA.
Sultanah Nur Zahirah is claiming RM100 million in damages from each of the defendants and wanted the second defendant, the publisher, to withdraw the books containing the defamatory statements as well as stop the third defendant, the printing company, from printing more copies of the book.
In their statement of defence, the three defendants denied that they had accused Sultanah Nur Zahirah of having been involved in corrupt practices.
Rewcastle-Brown claimed that Sarawak Report did not suggest that Sultanah Nur Zahirah was involved in a conspiracy that involved Jho Low or that she was involved in the government administration associated with 1MDB matters. – Bernama