KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has ordered former inspector-general of police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar, and Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to pay a total of RM1 million to Nurul Izzah Anwar over a defamation suit.
In her suit filed three years ago, the PKR vice-president said that the duo had defamed her by saying that she had committed “treason” by meeting self-styled Sulu princess Jacel Kiram in 2015.
Judicial Commissioner Faizah Jamaludin found both men liable for making the defamatory statements towards Nurul Izzah during two press conferences.
“Statements from both defendants were made with malice and they did not check with her about the meeting, before issuing the remarks,” she said.
The court found Khalid and Ismail failed to plead their defences on fair comment.
“Both defendants did not distinguish which are the comments and facts in their defence arguments. This defeats the defence’s case,” Faizah said.
The court also ordered the two men to pay a total of RM80,000 in cost.
Jacel is the daughter of Jamalul Kiram III, who masterminded the armed intrusion at Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu between Feb 12 and April 10, 2013.
During the trial, Nurul Izzah said that the meeting with Jacel was never planned.
Meanwhile, Khalid and Ismail had said that Nurul Izzah’s meeting with Jacel was tantamount to an “act of treason”, as Jacel‘s family members were state enemies following their involvement in the Lahad Datu intrusion.
Jacel’s brother Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram was one of nine men who were convicted and sentenced to death over the incident.
Speaking to reporters after the decision, Nurul Izzah said she felt vindicated.
“I think this should be a reminder to politicians that even if they have a duty to comment, their comments should a fair one,” she said.
The incumbent Lembah Pantai MP said she will set aside a large sum from the RM1 million damages for the family members of those who died in the intrusion.