KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and UMNO have threated to take legal action against Malaysiakini over two articles published by the news portal which allegedly contained defamatory and seditious comments.
According to a report by Malaysiakini, a letter of demand was issued by law firm Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak on Thursday who represented UMNO and Najib demanding Malaysiakini to publish an apology within 48 hours.
The articles published on May 14 were compilations of comments by readers of Malaysiakini on this week’s political crisis in Terengganu titled 'A case of the PM reaping what he sows' and 'How much will Najib spend to keep Terengganu?'
Lawyer Datuk Muhd Hafarizam Harun said, the comments made by the seven readers featured in the articles published showed UMNO as a political party that was racist with no integrity, moral values and credibility.
"All of the accusations made by the readers on the news portal were totally baseless, without concrete proof and were very serious, on top of having ill-intent (mala-fide) to damage the reputation and image of our clients," he said.
Najib and UMNO demanded for unconditional apology from Malaysiakini within 48 hours from the issuance of the letter as well retraction of the articles and Malaysiakini is asked to be careful in publishing readers’ comments.
If a response was not given, the law firm has received instructions for court actions to be initiated.
In a quick response, the Group Editor in Chief of Malaysiakini, Steven Gan said that the letter of demand was expected after Utusan Malaysia had criticised the portal’s readers last month.
He said, Malaysiakini is ready to offer the right to response and will make an offer to Najib to engage with the readers of the news portal.
"He is more than welcome to explain to them why he thinks their opinions of him and UMNO are wrong,” Gan was quoted as saying in a news report on Malaysiakini’s website.