Court strikes out ex-UUM lecturer’s defamation suit against DAP leaders

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The sessions court in Kuala Lumpur today struck out a defamation suit brought by former Universiti Utara Malaysia lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff against seven DAP leaders as the trial judge’s orders were not complied with.

Judge Zulqarnain Hassan annulled the suit under Order 34 Rule 2(3) of the Rules of Court after hearing submissions from parties during an online proceeding.

Lawyer Guok Ngek Seong, who appeared for Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng, said the judge also awarded RM5,000 in costs to his client.

Meanwhile, counsel Syahredzan Johan, who represented Lim Kit Siang, Chong Chieng Jen, Wong Kah Woh, Syerleena Abdul Rashid, Farid Mohd Azmi and Ariffin SM Omar, said they were awarded a total of RM3,000 in costs.

Syahredzan, however, said the judge made a ruling that Kamarul, represented by Harris Mohan, was at liberty to file a fresh suit.

Guok said he made an oral application to strike out the suit on the grounds that Kamarul’s previous lawyers had failed to file pre-trial documents as directed by the judge.

“The court had also earlier fixed a 14-day trial from today,” Guok added.

Harris, however, said he took over the case last week and did not have certain documents to prepare for the trial.

In March 2017, Kamarul lodged a police report against DAP’s then Selangor Speaker Hannah Yeoh for allegedly driving a “Christian agenda” through her book, ‘Becoming Hannah: A Personal Journey’, published in January 2015.

The report was posted on Kamarul’s Facebook page.

The DAP leaders also issued statements against Kamarul which he deemed were defamatory, resulting in the suits being filed in 2020.

The defendants said their statements were not defamatory and they also relied on, among others, the defence of qualified privilege and fair comment.

The suits were consolidated and fixed before Zulqarnain last year following a court practice direction that sessions court judges could hear defamation suits. – FMT