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Anwar sues Utusan, TV3 over Lahad Datu report

 | March 4, 2013

However the Philippines Daily Inquirer is not being sued because it did not accuse Anwar directly in its article of masterminding the foreign intrusion.


PETALING JAYA:  Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today initiated legal action against Utusan Malaysia and TV3 for accusing him of masterminding the foreign intrusion in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

“We just delivered a letter of demand to Utusan’s management and TV3’s owner, Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Bhd, this morning.

“On top of claiming damages of RM100 million each, we also urged them to retract the report and apologise for the malicious attack against Anwar within 24 hours,” said PKR vice president N Surendran, who was flanked by party supreme council member Latheefa Koya.

The duo are the legal team acting on behalf of Anwar on the cases against Utusan and TV3.

Two days ago, Utusan carried a frontpage report linking the opposition leader to the armed intrusion in Lahad Datu.

The article was said to have been published based on a report by Filipino media, Philippines Daily Inquirer, quoting unnamed sources, who alleged that a politician linked to Anwar was behind the foreign intrusion in Lahad Datu.

Subsequently, TV3 carried Utusan’s report on its prime time news, Buletin Utama on the same day.

Calling the allegations baseless, Surendran said that Anwar took the accusations seriously as it involved national security.

“Not only is it a vile and slanderous attack on my client but it is also an attempt to fabricate evidence on the happenings in Lahad Datu. In addition, it is also misleading the public on a national security issue,” he said.

Surendran said that he also holds Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Umno responsible for the attacks on Anwar.

He cited an earlier civil suit by Anwar against Utusan, where it was revealed that one of Najib’s aide sits in Utusan’s board of directors.

“Utusan’s group editor in chief, Aziz Abdul Ishak, confirmed this in court,” said the PKR leader.

Echoing Surendran’s sentiments, Latheefa said:”No one from Utusan or TV3 tried contacting Anwar before publishing the reports.”

On why they did not sue Philippines Daily Inquirer for defamation as it was the first to publish reports linking the opposition leader to the Sulu armed men, Surendran said that it was because they did not accuse Anwar directly in its article.

“They mentioned that a Sabah opposition politician linked to Anwar is behind the foreign intrusion. But Utusan blatantly named Anwar as the mastermind,” he said.

Asked on the matter at another press conference, a visibly upset Anwar said: “I have already filed a legal suit on the matter.

“Why do I need to sue the Philippines Daily Inquirer? They did not mention me but the Umno-owned-media accused me,” he added.


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