KUALA LUMPUR: A new judge will hear the defamation suit by Bersih 2.0 Chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah against Red Shirts leader Jamal Yunos.
Melissa Sasidaran, Chin’s lawyer, said they received a letter from the High Court registry saying that Justice Zaki Abdul Wahab had been assigned to hear the slander suit.
He takes over from Justice S Nantha Balan.
“Plaintiff and defendant have to appear on November 1 before deputy registrar (Norfauzani Mohd Nordin),” the letter read.
The letter added the decision to change the trial judge was a directive from Federal Court judge Justice Azahar Mohamed.
No reason was given for the change.
Justice Azahar is the managing judge for the Kuala Lumpur courts.
Melissa said she would serve a copy of the lawsuit on Jamal next month.
On October 7, Maria sued Jamal, who is also Umno Sungai Besar divisional chief, for reportedly claiming that Bersih 2.0 was infiltrated by members of the Islamic State (IS) group.
He allegedly made the claim during press conferences at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) and at Bukit Aman.
Maria claimed that her reputation had been tarnished by Jamal.
His statement implied that she abetted the terrorist group, said the Bersih 2.0 chief.
She noted that Jamal had asked for action to be taken against her.
Maria is seeking damages.
She sent a letter of demand to Jamal on October 4, asking him to apologise within 48 hours.
Jamal held a press conference the next day to tell reporters that he would not apologise. He went on to flush the letter of demand down a toilet.