SHAH ALAM: The High Court here has dismissed a RM10mil defamation suit filed by Selangor Umno against PAS in relation to the Damansara Utama Methodist Church raid on a technicality.
Judicial Commissioner Ahmad Zaki Husin said a Harakah article was defamatory but did not grant damages on grounds that the plaintiff had no locus standi.
On Sept 14 last year, Selangor Umno liaison secretary Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed filed the suit against PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali, Harakah publishers Angkatan Edaran Enterprise Sdn Bhd, the paper’s editor Ahmad Lutfi Othman and reporter Khairul Azlam Mohamad as defendants.
In his statement of claim, Mohd Zin said Mustafa had allegedly defamed Umno by accusing the party of playing a role in the Aug 13 raid in the article published in the Aug 19 to 21 edition of Harakah last year.
JC Ahmad said the defendants’ defence was based on the issue of qualified privilege that Harakah was exclusively for PAS members.
“However, Harakah is sold in public and can be bought by non-members. The action of calling a press conference showed the underlying intention for the defamatory statement to be broadcast to non-members.”
The court, however, denied the plaintiff the damages sought on the grounds that he had no locus standi.
“It is clear that an organisation can only make (civil) claims using the name of an elected public servant. However, the plaintiff (Mohd Zin) is not a public servant who can make such a claim,” said JC Ahmad.
Lawyers Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun represented Mohd Zin while Mohamed Hanipa Maidin represented Mustafa.