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Court sets May 5 to decide Najib's application to cancel paragraphs in Chan's statement of defence

Court sets May 5 to decide Najib's application to cancel paragraphs in Chan's statement of defence
Judicial Commissioner Datuk Roslan Abu Bakar set the date after hearing submissions from Najib's counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun and Chan's counsel N. Surendran. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today set May 5 to decide on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's application to cancel several paragraphs in the statement of defence of Mediarakyat.net portal owner Chan Chee Kong in a defamation suit over 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Roslan Abu Bakar set the date after hearing submissions from Najib's counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun and Chan's counsel N. Surendran.
Earlier, Mohd Hafarizam submitted that the recording of the speech allegedly uploaded by Chan into the Mediarakyat's YouTube page clearly showed that it was a fact and not a fair comment.

As such, he said Chan had failed to comply with Order 78 Rule 3 (2) of the Rules of Court 2012 when he did not state further details in his defence for fair comment, besides not having strong legal principles to defend his statement of defence.
"We request that some paragraphs in the statement of defence of the second defendant (Chan) be discarded as it did not comply with Order 78," the counsel said in the hearing of Najib's application to cancel certain paragraphs in the statement of defence submitted by Chan on March 31, 2015.

Meanwhile, Surendran submitted that the recording of the speech allegedly uploaded by his client was a fair comment and should be ascertained by the court through a trial.

"If Mohd Hafarizam's argument is accepted, the court should not cancel my client's statement of defence, but instead should give him the chance to make amendment," Surendran said.

Mohd Hafarizam replied that there was no application from Chan to amend his statement of defence after the prime minister filed the application to cancel some paragraphs in the statement.

Najib filed the suit in his personal capacity on March 5 last year and named Petaling Jaya Utara Member of Parliament Tony Pua and Chan as the first and second defendants.

In his statement of claim, Najib said on Nov 13, 2014, Pua, as the main speaker at a DAP fundraising dinner, had uttered libellous remarks about 1MDB.

Najib said the recording of the speech was uploaded by Chan himself and/or his agents on YouTube and the Mediarakyat website under what he claimed was a libellous heading.

He said the recording of the speech contained words that referred to and related to him and defamed him and the individual known as the "prime minister" and must have referred specifically to him.

He claimed that the publication of the defamatory words had damaged his reputation, which would continue for years because the recording of the speech could be accessed widely and easily throughout the world via the Internet, blogs, forums and websites without any restriction and could be reshared.