Federal Court denies Apandi Ali leave to proceed with defamation suit appeal

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Court of Appeal’s decision in favour of Lim Kit Siang stands.

The Federal Court has dismissed former Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s application for leave to proceed with his appeal against the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of his RM10mil defamation lawsuit against DAP’s Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang.

Miera Zulyana

The panel of three judges, comprising Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Federal Court judges Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan and Datuk Abu Bakar Jais, ruled that it was not a proper case for the court to grant leave.

Justice Tengku Maimun said the decision by the High Court was per its evaluation of available evidence and principles of law and the Court of Appeal affirmed it.

She said the five questions of law proposed by Mohamed Apandi’s lawyers were not novel which merit arguments at the Federal Court and ordered Mohamed Apandi to pay RM30,000 in costs.

Following Mohamed Apandi’s failure to obtain leave, the decision made by the Court of Appeal on Nov 2 last year in favour of Lim stands.

Mohamed Apandi, 74, filed the leave application to appeal on Dec 1 last year after he lost his appeal in the Court of Appeal.

Hari Anggara

His suit against Lim is over an article on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (IMDB) scandal was dismissed by the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on May 23, 2022.

In the suit filed in 2019, Mohamed Apandi claimed that on May 6, 2019, Lim had written and caused to be published an article titled “Dangerous fallacy to think Malaysia’s on the road to integrity” in Malaysiakini.

He claimed that the alleged libellous words in the article implied that he was involved in crime and had abetted in the 1MDB financial scandal, was a person with no morals and integrity, was unethical and had abused his power when he was the AG.

Mohamed Apandi, who was the AG from July 27, 2015, to June 4, 2018, contended that the libellous words were untrue and written to tarnish his image and credibility as a former Malaysian AG for cheap publicity.

He sought aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as RM10mil in general damages, an injunction to prevent Lim and/or his agents from publishing the alleged defamatory words again and other relief deemed fit by the court.

High Court Judge Datuk Azimah Omar (now Court of Appeal judge), in dismissing Mohamed Apandi’s suit, ruled that Lim succeeded in justifying his qualified privileges when making those statements as the 1MDB scandal involves criminality, illegalities, social and economic repercussions to the nation’s economy as well as the morality of the nation’s top leaders and agencies.

Lawyers Liew Teck Huat, Rueben Mathiavaranam, M.Visvanathan and V.Sanjay Nathan represented Mohamed Apandi while Sangeet Kaur Deo, Harshaan Zamani and Simranjit Kaur acted for Lim.