The High Court today ordered Prof Mahamad Naser Disa to pay RM80,000 in damages to Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad (photo, left), who won a defamation suit which he had filed against the former Malaysian Institute of Islamic Strategic Studies (Iksim) CEO.
The lawsuit was over the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill 2016 or RUU355.
In her judgement, High Court Judicial Commissioner Rohani Ismail said the court found no evidence indicating that the plaintiff (Khalid) had issued a statement that he was against RUU355.
"The defendant's (Mahamad Naser) statement claiming that the plaintiff was against RUU355 was incorrect and had tarnished his reputation.
"As such the court has allowed the plaintiff's claim, and the defendant is ordered to pay damages amounting to RM80,000 with costs of RM20,000 to the plaintiff," she said.
Rohani also ordered Mahamad Naser to submit an apology to the Shah Alam MP which is to be published in local newspapers within 14 days beginning from today, and granted an injunction preventing the defendant from issuing further statements on the issue.
The court made the decision after hearing the evidence from both the plaintiff and defendant themselves.
On May 30, 2018, the High Court dismissed Mahamad Naser's application to set aside the suit filed by Khalid after finding that there were issues which should be heard.
On Jan 30 2018, Mahamad Naser sought to set aside the suit on the grounds that it was an abuse of the court process, humiliating, trivial and inconvenient, as the court was being used as a platform for political mileage over the RUU355 issue.
In Dec 2017, Khalid sued Mahamad Naser after claiming that the defendant had touched on the RUU355 issue in a seminar organised by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) at 9.50am on Sept 28, 2017 at the Tengku Ampuan Jemaah Mosque, Bukit Jelutong in Shah Alam.
Khalid claimed that Mahamad Naser in a lecture entitled, `Discourse on current issues and Selangor state legislation: Doctrine: Challenges and Constitution,' had among other matters, stated that the plaintiff was strongly against RUU355, against the implementation of Islamic law including hudud, and opposed efforts to empower the Syariah Courts.
The plaintiff claimed that the statement was made with malicious intent which had marred his image as Shah Alam MP.
Khalid sought for general, aggravated and exemplary damages, apart from demanding the defendant issue an apology.
Meanwhile, lawyer Datuk Hasnal Rezua Merican, representing Mahamad Naser, when met by reporters, said he would file an appeal against the ruling soonest.
Khalid was represented by lawyers Muhammad Faiz Fadzil and Mohd Faizal Abdullah.