PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today maintained the RM150,000 in damages awarded on Sept 29 last year to jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, after striking out Umno Youth head Khairy Jamaluddin’s appeal.
A three-man bench, chaired by Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, said Khairy’s notice was “ambiguous and uncertain”.
The bench also ordered Khairy to pay Anwar RM10,000 in costs.
Tengku Maimun, who sat with Justices Zaleha Yusof and Zabariah Yusof, said the bench was bound by a Federal Cout ruling that an appellant must file separate notices if there was more than one appeal.
Khairy was appealing against Justice Azizul Azmi Adnan’s decision in refusing to allow him to amend his statement of defence after trial and also for finding him liable and ordering the quantum of damages.
The current youth and sports minister had only filed a single notice of appeal. Anwar responded by filing an application to annul the notice as it was defective.
“In our unanimous view, this motion falls squarely on the principle enunciated by the Federal Court in Deepak’s case (A Santamil Selvi v Deepak Jaikishen) and we are in no position to disregard the doctrine of binding precedent,” she said.
Having perused the notice of appeal, Tengku Maimun said the bench was of the opinion that there was some ambiguity whether the appellant (Khairy) was appealing against the decision refusing him to amend the defence.
“What is also mentioned is that the appellant (Khairy) is appealing against the judgment made in favour of the plaintiff (Anwar).
“We are therefore allowing the application,” she said.
The bench also dismissed an oral application by Khairy’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, pending appeal to the Federal Court.
Anwar’s lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah, objected on grounds that there was nothing to be appealed as the notice had been revoked.
Last year, Azizul had said Khairy’s “main belakang” statement in 2008 had a sexual connotation meant to attack Anwar and dismissed Khairy’s defence of fair comment and qualified privilege.
“The allegations are serious and are capable of bearing a defamatory meaning,” he said.
Azizul also ordered Khairy to pay Anwar RM60,000 as costs.
On March 7, 2008, Anwar filed a suit against Khairy and demanded RM100 million in damages, alleging that Khairy, then the Umno Youth vice-chief, had uttered defamatory words against him at a ceramah (speech) in Lembah Pantai on Feb 20, 2008.
Anwar claimed that a phrase used by Khairy, “main belakang”, suggested that he was a homosexual and a person of low morals.