Jamal loses final appeal in Maria’s defamation suit

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Maria sued Jamal for defamation for linking her and Bersih 2.0 with the Daesh militant group.

Sungai Besar Umno chief Datuk Seri Jamal Md Yunos has failed in his final bid to obtain leave to appeal against the decision which held him liable for defaming former Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah.

The Federal Court’s three-member panel chaired by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat dismissed Jamal’s application, saying that the apex court are not with Jamal’s counsel V Mugunthan’s argument for leave to appeal to be heard on its merits.

“This is a unanimous decision, whether this matter has merit for the arguments in the Federal Court. We (the bench) are not persuaded in granting leave to appeal.

“Hence, we dismissed the application with costs of RM30,000,” said Justice Tengku Maimun when delivering today’s decision via teleconferencing after hearing submissions from Mugunthan, representing Jamal and counsel Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar, who acted for Maria.

The other judges on the panel were Federal Court judges Datuk Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal and Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.

On March 8, the Court of Appeal dismissed Jamal’s appeal to set aside a High Court’s decision that held him liable for defaming Maria, who is now Petaling Jaya MP.

The appellate court, however, allowed Jamal’s appeal to reduce the quantum of damages of RM300,000 which was previously awarded by the High Court to Maria, to RM150,000.

Maria sued Jamal for defamation for linking her and Bersih 2.0 with the Daesh militant group.

In her suit filed on Oct 7, 2016, she claimed that Jamal had uttered slanderous words against her and Bersih, which were picked up and published by online, print and electronic media, during a press conference at Putra World Trade Centre on Sept 28, 2016, and later at the Bukit Aman Police headquarters on Oct 4, 2016.