Former attorney-general (AG) Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s defamation suit against Member of Parliament, Lim Kit Siang has been dismissed.
The former AG filed the RM10 million suit against Kit Siang in 2019 for allegedly defaming him in an article that was released in the same year.
The article entitled “Dangerous fallacy to think Malaysia is on the road to integrity” was over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. Kit Siang wrote “Apandi should explain why he aided and abetted in the 1MDB scandal”.
Apandi then filed a defamation suit seeking RM10 million in general, aggravated and exemplary damages against Kit Siang.
Apandi said the libellous words were untrue and written with the intention of tarnishing his image and credibility as a former Malaysian AG for cheap publicity.
The publication of the alleged libellous article, he said, had caused him embarrassment, among family, friends and his peers in the legal industry.
High Court Judge Datuk Azimah Omar however found the Iskandar Puteri MP not liable for defamation, the court also ordered the former AG to pay RM80,000 in cost to Kit Siang.
The court decided that Kit Siang was justified in raising the issue of the 1MDB scandal as he had successfully proved his defense of fair comment and qualified privilege to question Apandi’s actions regarding the 1MDB scandal.
What’s more, Azimah said the court could not ignore the “glaring peculiarities” of Apandi’s conduct as AG in seeking mutual legal assistance (MLA) from foreign countries during the 1MDB investigation, or masking the case as ‘No Further Action’ even though this was against the recommendations of task-force investigators.
Following the dismissal of the suit, the DAP veteran released a press statement questioning the lack of media coverage around the issue.
“I would have been blazoned on the front-pages in printed media, whether Star, New Straits Times, Berita Harian or Utusan if Apandi had won his RM10 million defamation suit against me, but the report was blacked out when I won” he wrote.