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Zakir Naik files defamation suit against former Penang state rep

Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid

Published
Modified 9 Feb 2020, 3:30 pm

Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik has filed a defamation suit against former Batu Uban assemblyperson S Raveentharan over five postings uploaded to the latter’s Facebook page in October last year.

Zakir, through legal firm Messrs Akberdin & Co, filed the writ of summons at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Registry on Dec 12 last year.

According to a copy of the statement of claim sighted by Malaysiakini today, PKR member Raveentharan is alleged to have uploaded the five FB postings between Oct 13 and 17.

Zakir claimed that the five FB postings were actuated by malice, hatred, envy, and/or without making verification from him pertaining to the truth and validity of the allegations in the postings.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant, through the uploaded five statements, imputed that the former is a person of bad character and is a threat to the national security, peace, and harmony of Malaysia.

Zakir claimed that the five statements are unfounded, untrue, fabrications, spurious, entirely fictitious, and/or have been twisted and slanted to meet Raveentharan’s purported agenda.

The statement of claim stated: “The said defamatory statements, which have been published and/or republished and/or caused to be published and/or caused to be republished, were done so by the defendant with the purpose of:

(a) Inciting public hatred, ill-will and/or contempt towards the plaintiff;

(b) Achieving cheap publicity, mileage and/or adulation for the defendant;

(c) Exposing the plaintiff to physical, mental, emotional and/or psychological harm.

“By publishing the said defamatory statements, the defendant had also incited and/or provoked racial, religious or ethnic sensitivities among Malaysians in general.

“In the premises, it is beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant harboured ill-intentions against the plaintiff. It is also clear that the defendant intended to disrupt communal harmony by defaming the plaintiff, a famous Muslim religious personality."

Zakir claimed that his lawyers had sent a letter of demand dated Nov 1 last year to Raveentharan, demanding a retraction of the purported defamatory statements, an apology and/or damages over the said statements.

The plaintiff however claimed that the defendant refused, neglected and/or failed to accede to the former’s demands.

Zakir is seeking a mandatory injunction to compel Raveentharan to remove the five defamatory posts from the internet within seven days of pronouncement of judgment (if in favour of Zakir).

The plaintiff seeks a permanent injunction to restrain the defendant from publishing, distributing, and/or uploading any defamatory statement against the former on any medium whatsoever.

Zakir is seeking an apology to be published in English daily The Star, Bahasa Malaysia newspapers Berita Harian and Sinar Harian, vernacular dailies Tamil Nesan and Sin Chew Daily, online news portal Free Malaysia Today, as well as Raveentharan’s FB page.

The plaintiff seeks general, compensatory, aggravated, and exemplary damages, costs on a solicitor and client basis, and any other relief deemed fit by the court.

Checks at the online cause list showed that the suit is set for case management before the Kuala Lumpur High Court Registry at 9am tomorrow (Feb 10).

According to a copy of a notice of application by Raveentharan, who is also a practicing lawyer, tomorrow’s case management is in relation to his bid to transfer the suit to the Penang High Court.

Among the reasons cited for the transfer are that the potential witnesses that the defendant may call for the suit are all in Penang, among them being Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy, Penang Mufti Wan Salim Mohd Noor, Bagan Dalam assemblyperson M Satees, and an investigating officer of a related police report lodged at Penang.

The notice of application was filed on behalf of Raveentharan by Penang-based legal firm, Messrs Baljit Singh & Company.

In August last year, Zakir had issued multiple letters of demand against notable political figures like Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran, Klang MP Charles Santiago, Satees and former ambassador Dennis J Ignatius.

These legal notices were in relation to statements issued following Zakir’s controversial remarks on the Malaysian Chinese and Indian community during his speech in Kelantan early August last year.

Since then, it was reported that Zakir had filed two defamation suits against Ramasamy.

On Aug 16 last year, Malaysiakini reported that Zakir had lodged related police reports against Kulasegaran, Ramasamy, Santiago, Satees, and Ignatius.

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