Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah will not cede to the demand by lawyer Datuk Seri Zaid Ibrahim and his partners to apologise over a press statement they deem as libellous.
Speaking to reporters during the Malaysian Bar Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony on Friday (Sept 2), Cheah said she had already appointed lawyers to prepare if Zaid and his partners decide to sue her in court.
“We vehemently deny all the allegations raised by them and stand by the press statement issued.
“We are ready to face them in court,” said Cheah as quoted by Free Malaysia Today.
A letter issued by Zaid, Liew Teck Huat and Rueben Mathiavaranam’s law firm dated Aug 26 said legal action will be initiated against Cheah if she did not retract and apologise by Friday (Sept 2) for the press statement issued on Aug 19.
The lawyers – who had acted for former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the SRC International final appeal – said Cheah’s statement was “grave and serious libel” of their conduct.
Najib had appointed Zaid’s law firm on July 25 to replace Shafee & Co as solicitors in his final SRC International criminal appeal before the Federal Court, with Hisyam Teh Poh Teik roped in to be lead as counsel in place of Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
Najib discharged the firm as solicitors as well as Zaid, Liew and Rueben as co-counsel on Aug 18 after the apex court turned down several requests for additional time to prepare for the appeal.
A similar request to discharge Hisyam Teh as lead counsel was rejected by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.
On Aug 23, the Federal Court unanimously affirmed Najib’s conviction on all seven charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering over SRC International funds totalling RM42 million.
He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and a fine of RM210 million, or in default, another five years in jail. – The Star