Sabah lawyer obtains judgment in default against Hadi


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah lawyer Marcel Jude M. S. Joseph, 54, has won judgment in default in the Sessions Court against PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang for comments he made in a report, “Christianity rejected by the educated, Says Hadi” published on January 18 by Free Malaysia Today (FMT).

According to the written judgment, made available by WhatsApp on Wednesday, the Sessions Court ordered Hadi to pay the following relief to Marcel:

  • Damages, against the Defendant (Hadi) in the sum to be assessed, for interference with the Constitutional right of the Plaintiff (Marcel) to freedom of religion under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
  • Damages for blasphemy against the Defendant in the sum to be assessed.
  • Punitive damages against the Defendant.
  • Statutory interest and cost.

Judgment was entered, in default of appearance by Hadi in the Summons No. BI-A52NCvC-11/1-2016, under Order 13 Rule 1 and 2, Rules of Court 2012.

Hadi, Rhu Rendang Assemblyman and Marang MP – both in Terengganu – was served the summons by the Plaintiff’s lawyer on July 19.

The Plaintiff applied for judgment and the court, after studying the matter, issued a certificate of non-appearance by the Defendant.

Marcel, a member of the Sabah Law Association and the Sabah Catholic Lawyers Apostolate, sued Hadi on January 25 this year.

Marcel said in his Statement of Claim that Hadi caused an article to be published in which he was blasphemous and interfered with his lawful right to freedom of worship under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution. Marcel referred to the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth paragraphs of the said Article as defamatory.

Hadi’s statements, said Marcel, were calculated to make negative and false inferences of the Plaintiff and his Faith and religious Belief, namely, among others that the Plaintiff had no genuine Faith or religion; has no morals and belongs to an institution or religious institution lacking in morality.

The Plaintiff, according to the Defendant, is a member of a gangster or Mafia like organization engaged in unlawful and criminal activities, has no genuine spiritual or moral convictions and belongs to an organization or Faith that is equally lacking or void of such convictions, does not genuinely subscribe or believe in a tenet of the Rukun Negara, namely Belief in God.

Marcel claimed further, and in the Alternative, that the statements of the Defendant are all lies uttered with malice, in that the Defendant knew it was false or would cause damage or harm.

The Defendant, by reason of making such false statements, had intended to publish injurious falsehood and slander and the Defendant knew or was reckless as to whether the said statement was not true, said Marcel.

He was making the case for additional award of punitive and/or exemplary damages in an amount sufficient to punish the Defendant and to deter the Defendant from committing such despicable acts or making such blasphemous statements in the future.