KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here dismissed a bid by PPBM deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir to cite Prime Minister Najib Razak for contempt for allegedly trying to influence Mukhriz’s defamation suit against Najib’s aide.
Justice Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim ruled that Mukhriz had failed to show that the statement by Najib had put pressure on the court to influence the outcome of Mukhriz’s suit against Najib’s press secretary Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad.
“The long and short of today’s decision is that there is no word in the statement by Najib that is referring to the trial and was deemed as pressure on the court,” he said.
The court did not order any costs.
Mukhriz was not present in court today.
In an immediate response, Mukhriz’s lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said they will be appealing against the decision today.
On July 13, Mukhriz filed for an application to obtain leave from the court to start contempt proceedings against Najib.
He claimed that Najib’s statement issued on July 7, a week before his lawsuit against Tengku Sariffuddin was scheduled to start, was intentionally done to interfere with the course of justice.
He had on July 11 issued an ultimatum to Najib, demanding him to apologise but the prime minister did not do so.
Mukhriz had sued Tengku Sariffuddin last year over four press statements issued by the press secretary on April 15, 20, 23 and 26.
The press statements were titled “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”.
The trial will continue on Oct 19 before Justice Zaidi and Tengku Sariffuddin is expected to testify.
Besides Najib, Mukhriz had also sought to initiate contempt proceedings against Deputy Transport Minister Ab Aziz Kaprawi for making statements that may influence the outcome of this suit.
Justice Zaidi had fixed Oct 6 to hear Mukhriz’s bid if he is allowed to start contempt proceedings against Aziz.