KUALA LUMPUR: Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah told the High Court today that Red Shirts leader Jamal Yunos implied in statements that she had links with terrorist group IS.
She said Jamal’s statements, carried in the print and online media, made her look like she was a terrorist who had no respect for the law.
“This put me in a bad light in the eyes of the general public,” she said in her witness statement.
Maria, who took the witness stand, said Jamal’s statements in the media on Sept 28 and Oct 2, 2016 were widely published in the internet which could be accessed in Malaysia and overseas.
She said she instructed legal firm Messrs Daim & Gamany to send Jamal a letter demanding a retraction, apology and payment of damages.
“The defendant did not respond to the notice but instead tore the letter and flushed it down a toilet at the Shah Alam Umno building,” she said.
Maria said Jamal never contacted her for clarification before making the irresponsible remarks.
She said Jamal and his followers had an animosity towards Bersih and they frequently resorted to violence to provoke and intimidate its supporters who fought for a free and fair election.
On Sept 12, 2016, she said, Jamal called Bersih a lap dog of the anti-establishment and that she was a “circus animal of the opposition and would bark like a dog”.
She said Jamal had on Oct 20 declared an all-out war against a Bersih gathering and that he would mobilise Red Shirts members nationwide to fight her supporters.
Maria is suing Jamal for slandering Bersih during a press conference outside the Putra World Trade Centre on Sept 28, 2016.
She also claimed that on Oct 4 that year, Jamal had uttered similar slanderous words against Bersih during a media conference in the Bukit Aman police headquarters compound.
In her statement of claim filed on Oct 7, Maria said she had been brought into public scandal and had her reputation and good name tarnished.
She is seeking general and aggravated damages, as well as an injunction to stop Jamal from uttering or publishing similar words, either verbally, in print, or online.
Jamal is relying on justification and fair comment as defence to the lawsuit.
Cross-examined by Naseer Yusuf, who appeared for Jamal, she said it was true that police seized documents from the Bersih office in Petaling Jaya before a peaceful gathering in Kuala Lumpur.
She was among 14 detained by police on Nov 18, 2016 hours before the Bersih 5 rally and she spent 10 days in detention.
Police later announced that she was investigated under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), which normally deals with terrorism-linked offences.
Police claimed they had obtained a document that led them to believe she could be involved in activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, an offence under Section 124(c) of the Penal Code.
Maria dismissed a suggestion by the lawyer that her late husband Yunus Lebai Ali was a terrorist due to his links with the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
The hearing continues before Justice Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab.