Mukhriz demands public apology from Najib

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PETALING JAYA: Mukhriz Mahathir wants a public apology from Najib Razak for his alleged damaging remarks that could influence the court on the outcome of his defamation suit against the prime minister’s press secretary.

A letter of demand issued by Haniff Khatri Advocates & Solicitors and sighted by FMT revealed Mukhriz wants the prime minister “to express his regrets” by 1pm on Wednesday.

“Failing which, Mukhriz reserves the right to take all or any action available in law to protect his interests accordingly,” the notice said.

Yesterday, Mukhriz said Najib’s statement was intentionally calculated to interfere with the course of justice, knowing well  his suit against Tengku Sariffuddin Ahmad.

Mukhriz’ defamation suit against Tengku Sariffuddin will be heard for two days from Thursday.

Najib is said to have made the statement last Friday in an article entitled “Mahathir’s latest U-turn demonstrates his RCI panic”, referring to the royal commission of inquiry into Bank Negara Malaysia’s foreign exchange market losses in the 1980s and 1990s.

Mukhriz, who is also PPBM deputy president, said Najib had allegedly stated in the article that “he (Mahathir Mohamad) is obsessed by saving his family legacy and making his son (Mukhriz) prime minister”.

He said his suit against Tengku Sariffuddin was specifically to seek the court’s determination whether similar words appearing in the press secretary’s impugned statements were defamatory.

Mukhriz said he was very disappointed that Najib, a person holding the highest position of authority in Malaysia, could stoop so low as to take such desperate measures.

“In my opinion, it is the clearest example of interference and exertion of unlawful pressure on the court,” he had said.

Last year, Mukhriz, the former Kedah menteri besar and incumbent Ayer Hitam assemblyman, filed the suit over four media statements issued by Tengku Sariffuddin on April 15, 20, 23 and 26.

The four press releases were “Prime Minister’s Press Secretary’s Statement on Donation Confirmation by Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister”, “Prime Minister’s Press Secretary’s Statement on Former DPM’s Reuters Interview”, “Mukhriz Mahathir’s Statement: Response by Prime Minister’s Press Secretary” and “Prime Minister’s Press Secretary’s Statement on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir”.

In his defence Tengku Sariffuddin said he had never defamed Mukhriz in any of his media statements seeking to clarify issues and untruths spread about Najib.

Tengku Sariffuddin said the statements were published based on qualified privilege and without malice.

He said his media statements were made in his official capacity to prevent rumours or political allegations made against the prime minister.