Unfair Game

Yesterday, a three man bench Court of Appeal overturned the High Court decision of a suit against TV3 by DAP-puppet MB of Perak (2008-9) Mohamed Nizar Jamaluddin for slandering HRH Sultan of Johor in the tendering episode of ‘WWW 1″ almost two years ago.

Published: Tuesday February 25, 2014 MYT 5:33:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday February 25, 2014 MYT 5:34:55 PM

Court of Appeal finds TV3 guilty of defaming Nizar

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal here on Tuesday ruled that TV3 was liable for defaming former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin over his tweets on the WWW1 vehicle registration number which was successfully bid for by the Sultan of Johor.

A three-member panel chaired by Justice Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof unanimously allowed Mohammad Nizar’s appeal to set aside the decision of the High Court, which had dismissed his RM50mil defamation suit against TV3.

Justice Ariff subsequently remitted the case back to the High Court for assessment of damages.

In his ruling, Justice Ariff said TV3 had failed to establish the defence of justification.

He said there was malice in the report by the TV station, adding that TV3 also failed to prove that its report was true or partially true.

“The Court is of the view that the High Court’s decision cannot be sustained and is hereby set aside,” said Justice Ariff, who presided on the panel with Justices Datuk David Wong Dak Wah and Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim.

He also ordered TV3 to pay RM30,000 in legal costs to Mohammad Nizar for the court proceedings in the Court of Appeal.

Mohammad Nizar was appealing against the April 12, 2013 decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court in dismissing a defamation suit brought by him against TV3 and the producer of Buletin Utama, Rohani Ngah, over his comments on the vehicle registration number, which was bid successfully for by the Sultan of Johor in May 2012 for RM520,000.

In his statement of claim, Mohammad Nizar stated that he had issued a statement through his Twitter account on May 28, 2012, concerning the vehicle number plate.

He claimed that on May 30 2012, TV3 carried news on his Twitter statement over its 8pm Bulletin Utama news slot.

Lawyer Liew Teck Huat representing TV3, when met by lawyers, said he would study the grounds of judgment before deciding on whether to bring the matter up to the Federal Court.

Mohammad Nizar was represented by lawyer Mohd Fitri Asmuni. – Bernama

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There arise serious doubts of the impartiality of Justice Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof who presided the three-man-bench.

This is because Justice Ariff is a PAS man and believed still to be a staunch supporter of the political party. In 11GE, he stood as the PAS candidate for Kota Damansara but lost to UMNO man Dato’ Mokhtar Dhahlan.

Ariff was also the Legal Cousel for PAS in an election petition in Perlis.

If Ariff still had the strong inclination towards PAS especially Nizar, then he should have recused himself from hearing the appeal case. When Nizar wsa dismissed as MB Perak and HRH Paduka Seri Sultan Perak appointed Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the 10th Menteri Besar, Nizar took Dr Zambry to court.

On 25 February 2009, then Judicial Commissioner Ariff recused himself from hearing the suit.

The Star report:

                 Published: Wednesday February 18, 2009 MYT 1:10:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday February 18, 2009 MYT 7:58:52 PM

Nizar vs Zambry: Judge offers to recuse himself (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: In an unexpected twist High Court Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Arif Md Yusof offered to recuse himself from hearing the lawsuit filed by former Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin against his successor Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

The suit was filed after the Pakatan Rakyat government lost the state to Barisan Nasional with the resignation of three assemblymen from their parties, and the defection of a fourth.

Nizar wants the court, by way of judicial review, to declare him the legitimate mentri besar and for an injunction to stop Dr Zambry or his agents from carrying out the duties and functions of the mentri besar.

At the onset of the proceedings Wednesday, Mohamad Arif said he has been a legal advisor and counsel for PAS on a number of election petition cases. Nizar is a member of PAS, which together with PKR and DAP, makes up the Pakatan alliance.

“I have also been involved in PAS legal matters from time to time, and have advised PKR on legal issues,” Mohamad Arif said.

“I have also acted for Barisan in an election petition in Sarawak,” he added.

“I tend to think that to preserve justice and the integrity of the institution, perhaps I should recuse myself from hearing this matter,” he said.

He set Feb 23 for counsel from both sides to brief him on whether they had any objection to him hearing the matter, as well as on two other issues:

First, whether the matter should be referred to the Federal Court over the question of law for determination and finality, over intepretation of Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution.

Second, on the standing of Perak’s state legal advisor Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid acting as counsel for the respondent since Dr Zambry is being sued in his personal capacity.

The five-page suit, filed last Friday, also asks for “punitive, aggravated and exemplary” damages to be awarded to Nizar.

Earlier, Mohamad Arif said that he allowed for the matter to be called in the open court because 14 lawyers turned up for the case and that he wanted all to know his position.

Besides, he said, the parties may want to refer the matter to the Federal Court over question of law on the interpretation of Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution for finality.

(Article 16 (6) states that if the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, then unless at his request His Royal Highness dissolve the legislative assembly he shall tender the resignation of executive council).

On hearing this, Perak Legal Advisor Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, who appeared for Zambry, said he had received instructions to apply for his recusal from hearing the case.

However, lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah, who represented Nizar with seven lawyers, argued that the JC was capable of hearing the case without any danger of bias.

Among others, he said, the JC could recuse himself if he had a personal relationship with any of the parties, or applied for land in Perak through them and had briefed the two on the legal steps before they held Mentri Besar post.

“You have appeared for PKR, PAS for the election petition and for Barisan in Sarawak, it is in your capacity as an advocate and soliticor. That is your area of practice and you have no choice not to accept it,” he said.

The JC then said that he was no longer involved in any political party and that he was more concerned about the public perception.

Sulaiman then argued that it was the judge’s inherent function to educate and inform on the law and public issues.

In submitting his points further, Sulaiman said the judge would be failing in carrying out his judicial duty and interest of justice if he was considering the “wrong perception of public”.

At the outset, Sulaiman objected to Ahmad Kamal representing the respondent saying that it was a conflict of interest.

Ahmad Kamal said he had a right to represent the respondent and that the application by the counsel was premature. He said he had yet to receive an affidavit to support of the application.

He also applied to the JC to transfer the case back to Ipoh High Court.

“It is because both parties are staying in Ipoh and involved in the state government of Perak and the people of Perak. Therefore, the proper forum is to be tried at Ipoh High Court,” he said.

Sulaiman argued that Ahmad Kamal should also be disqualified from appearing for Zambry because of “all party sentiments”.

“It should be (tried) in neutral territory and in specialised court,” he said. The case is filed at High Court (Appellate and Special Powers division).

Sulaiman said there was no question of witnesses involved in the case and that all would be in the form of affidavits as it was a pure question of law to be decided.

SFC See Mee Chun, who appeared for Attorney-General Chambers, said she had to seek instructions over the matter.

Justice Mohamad Ariff asked the parties to file proper applications and set Monday for mention over the issues of the recusal, referring the matter to apex court and the acting of the Perak Legal Advisor as counsel for the respondent since Zambry was being sued in his personal capacity

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This is very serious since Justice Ariff is believed to have political inclination. That would probably means that he is biased in the case and as he presided the three-man-bench, he would probably be influencing the other judges too.

TV3 should act on this.

Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 13:30  Comments (8)  

Taib: UMNO is not racist

“UMNO is a racial party. But it is not racist. It is most effective way to set representation of the Malays”, said Outgoing Sarawak Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud when asked in Kuching yesterday.

This was what pro-Opposition news portal Riong Kali dot com reported:

Keep Umno’s brand of racial politics out of Sarawak, Taib tells state BN leaders

BY DESMOND DAVIDSON
FEBRUARY 10, 2014

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (left) with Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu. – The Malaysian Insider pic, February 10, 2014.Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (left) with Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu. – The Malaysian Insider pic, February 10, 2014.

Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is leaving his post as chief minister with one advice to his successor – that whoever succeeds him must strive to keep Umno and its brand of racially divisive politics out of the state.

Taib’s remarks to the Barisan Nasional (BN) supreme council meeting yesterday made it clear that his successor “should stand tough and be unflinching” when dealing with Putrajaya on issues concerning Sarawak’s interests.

Sarawak BN secretary-general Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi said Taib told yesterday’s meeting that his successor has to vigorously protect the state’s rights as spelled out in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963.

“We must stick to the Malaysia Agreement in protecting the rights of the state,” he said of Taib’s message at the state BN supreme council meeting in Kuching which gave the chief minister the prerogative to choose his successor.

Rundi said standing up to Putrajaya included stopping Umno from coming to the state, which is widely seen as undermining the 20-point agreement which protects the interests and rights of Sabah and its people when the territory agreed to form Malaysia with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore. Sabah has a 20-point agreement while Sarawak has a 18-point agreement for the formation of Malaysia.

He said there is no reason for Umno to spread its wings to Sarawak as Taib’s Parti Pesaka Bumiputera (PBB) was already doing a good job managing the state and protecting Sarawak’s rights as envisaged in the 18-point agreement.

Rundi also said the state’s socio-ethnic situation differed from the peninsula’s and therefore handling it should best be left to Sarawakians who understand it best.

Taib had over the weekend announced his intention to leave as chief minister and had spent Saturday and Sunday discussing his imminent retirement with his PBB party men and the BN supreme council.

Accusations already abound in the social media with netizens accusing Putrajaya of eroding much of Sarawak and Sabah’s rights in the agreements that paved the way for the formation of Malaysia.

Wilfred Nisson, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) secretary-general explained that Umno only “understands issues pertaining to the interest of Malays and Islam” while in Sarawak, parties like PBB and his party have to cater for the interests of various ethnic groups and from varying religious beliefs and denominations.

“We have to treat this multi-ethnic, multi-religious make up meticulously in order to maintain the social harmony.

“In Sarawak, we tread a very thin line as we have to feel the sensitivity of the people from the various ethnic groups. There are over 40 ethnic groups in the state.

“Therefore, nobody else can understand this situation better than Sarawakians,” he said, noting that the lynchpin BN party in Peninsular Malaysia in recent years appeared to have a difficult time managing expectations of the various races in the peninsula.

The opposition, particularly DAP, are also against Umno coming to Sarawak.

State DAP chairman, Chong Chien Jen, created a furore in the state legislative assembly at its sitting last November when he accused state Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg of being pro-Umno and could bring Umno into the state if he becomes the chief minister.

Abang Johari, the deputy president II in PBB, is one of three persons widely speculated could be picked by Taib to be the next chief minister to succeed him.

When Abang Johari demanded Chong, who is the Kota Sentosa assemblyman and Bandar Kuching MP, withdraw the accusation, Chong said he would only do it if the assembly moved a motion to ban the entry of Umno into the state.

Chong’s refusal to withdraw led to Special Functions Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem – another name speculated could be picked by Taib – to instead move a motion to have Chong suspended.

Chong is still suspended from the assembly and Speaker Datuk Amar Mohammad Asfia Awang Nassar had recently said the decision to lift Chong’s suspension would only be made when the assembly sits in May.

Chong could miss the first few meetings as Asfia said he would not make the decision outside the House.

Rundi said for Sarawak to insist full adherence and respect for the 18-point agreement does not make Sarawakians any less loyal to the federation.

“We are 100% loyal to Malaysia, we will stay with Malaysia through thick and thin.

“But Sarawak’s rights have to be protected,” he told The Malaysian Insider, adding that Umno would not be interested in doing so. – February 10, 2014.

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“UMNO was formed to satisfy the aspirations of the Malays. Therefore, the spirit of nationalism became a political party which appeals to majority of the Malays then”, describing the need to observe the reality of Malaysian politics.

“UMNO worked with other parties. First it was MCA. Later, MIC. After Malaysia was formed, (work together) with more parties. We don’t talk about the need for any race at this level. We talk about how to move Malaysia forward”.

“We have great understanding and we make policies for all Malaysians. BN is a multiracial party. We meet at the top to discuss and decide what is best for Malaysia”.

Taib also said in the 33 years tenure of Sarawak Chief Minister that span from Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s leadership till present, he noted that all Federal Government policies and decisions have been beneficial to Sarawak and Sarawakians.

“Federal Government don’t make big blunders. All the policies and decisions are good. However, some of them needs tweaking for implementation in Sarawak. Probably some of the officers were unable to describe (to their respective HQ) well how these implementations need adjustments. Its more important to meet the objectives, rather than how its done”.

It is obvious that Riong Kali dot com manipulated statement on Sarawak BN leaders in the continuous effort to demonise the Malay-led leadership of Malaysia with the ‘Politics of Hatred’ strategy. The story is not about Sarawakians’ feeling towards UMNO but DAP’s Chinese chauvinism morbid hatred towards the majority-led Malay adminiostration and leadership of this country since Kemerdekaan.

When asked about Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s leadership, Taib was cordial to put this point across “He is hardworking and comes to Sarawak and go to the ground a lot”.

Pro-Opposition newsportal and cybersphere tools have been fanning anti-Federalist hatred amongst Sarawakians with the tone of Federal political leaders wanted to make Sarawak subservient to them and their benefits and rights being systematically denied.

However, the fact is that Opposition parties from Semenanjung like Chinese Chauvinist DAP is working hard to make inroads and footings in Bumi Kenyalang, with the typical Chinese chauvinism and racism being fanned and instigated amongst the pockets of Sarawak Chinese community. Mainly, in the urban area.

As such, once the state without apparent racialism-fanned politics and this formula which was one of the key ingredients of Sarawak’s success despite  complexity of vast geography, multi ethnicity and beliefs, has now been antagonised.

Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 07:00  Comments (2)