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Rafizi: Remarks about Rosmah’s ring were in jest

 | June 5, 2015

MP says in his statement of defence that the remarks he made were merely intended as ‘good natured ridicule’ and not as factual assertions.

rafizi, rosmah

KUALA LUMPUR: Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli claims that remarks which he made about Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor at a recent forum were merely in jest and were not defamatory of either of them, reports the Malaysian Insider.

He also pleads the defences of fair comment and qualified privilege.

Rafizi had been sued by the couple for comments which were subsequently uploaded onto YouTube by Media Rakyat under the title “Rafizi Ramli: Kenapa kita Pertahankan Subsidi Minyak”.

Najib and Rosmah’s suit allege that Rafizi had in a speech defamed them by claiming that government savings from the abolishment of fuel subsidies had been stolen from the public, put into Rosmah’s pocket as spending money and used by Rosmah to purchase a ring worth RM20 million.

Rafizi was also alleged to have said that rising fuel prices would allow Rosmah to buy more diamond rings.

In his statement of defence to the suit, Rafizi said that his comments were merely ‘good natured ridicule.’

“Those particular words uttered must be understood in the right context,” he is reported to have stated in his filing. “It did not amount to defamation.”

When deciding the case, the court is obliged to first consider whether the statement was defamatory or not, a senior lawyer told FMT today. “To be defamatory, the impugned statement must be understood as asserting a fact.”

“Even if made in jest, the first task of the court is to determine from the context of the entire speech made whether those remarks were capable of being interpreted by a reasonable person as factual in nature,” he said. “If they can, and are shown to be false, then those remarks would be defamatory.”

He noted that Rafizi’s defence does not plead the defence of justification, which would arise if he were asserting that the statements made were factually true.

The matter has been fixed for case management before High Court judge Noraini Abdul Rahman on June 26.


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