Defamation suit filed by Waytha against Azwanddin is settled after the latter agreed to make an open apology to the minister-in-charge of national unity.
Malay rights group leader Azwanddin Hamzah today apologised to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waytha Moorthy for using a derogatory word against him in a gathering for fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim last year.
The Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) president tendered his apology for using the word ‘p****h’, which is deemed derogatory by the Indian community, against Waytha on Dec 26, 2018.
Lawyer Annou Xavier, representing Waytha, told High Court judicial commissioner Rohani Ismail that both parties agreed to settle the case.
“The defendant (Azwanddin) will make an apology to the plaintiff (Waytha), which will be published by Berita Harian, Makkal Osai and posted on the defendants’ Facebook.
“The defendant will pay the plaintiff RM90,000 in general damages within 30 days of today’s judgment, either by bank draft or online transfer to the plaintiff’s solicitor, Messrs Azri Lee Swee Seng & Co,” he said when reading out the draft of the consent judgment.
Xavier said the terms of the settlement also included the prohibition on the defendant, whether himself, his employees, or agents, from repeating or reproducing the alleged defamatory words.
The suit was over a racial slur allegedly made by Azwanddin during an assembly organised by Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Geras) at Dataran Seni Klang in December last year.
Waytha, 53, filed the suit on Feb 13, claiming that Azwanddin, 46, had used defamatory words against him and the words were republished by the print media and on the Internet.
The post with the defamatory words on Azwanddin’s Facebook page had received 187,912 views; 4,705 likes; 943 shares and 362 comments as on Feb 8, 2019.
Waytha said the alleged defamatory words had caused him harm and embarrassment and were seriously prejudicial to his reputation as a senator and a minister, and as a result, his good name was tarnished.
Azwanddin, in his defence statement filed last April, denied all the claims by Waytha on grounds that the statement he made did not involve the plaintiff exclusively, but to address political issues at large.
He said he did not have any malicious intent against Waytha and that the statement was made to make known the injustice in the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
Waytha was represented by Annou and Tristan Ng while Azwanddin was not represented as his lawyer had been discharged.
The rally last year was intended for the late firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, who succumbed to his injuries on Dec 17 last year after being attacked by rioters near the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Subang Jaya a month earlier.
Organisers of the rally had criticised Azwanddin for his controversial speech in blaming certain government leaders for Adib’s death.
Waytha later told reporters he was relieved that the matter had come to an end after almost a year.
His lawyers had sent Azwanddin a letter of demand on Jan 8, telling him to apologise within a week. However, Azwanddin refused to do so.
Azwanddin has also settled the lawsuit filed against him by Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok over his claim that she was involved in the Sri Maha Mariamman temple land dispute in Seafield.
Kok later filed committal proceedings against him for allegedly breaching the terms of settlement.