Deputy minister Mahfuz Omar to pay RM200,000 for defaming NGO leader

Deputy Human Resources Minister Mahfuz Omar. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: Amanah vice-president and Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar will have to pay RM200,000 in damages to former NGO leader Hasan Mohamed Ali for defamation.

This follows the Federal Court’s refusal to grant leave to Mahfuz, who is deputy human resources minister, to appeal against the Court of Appeal ruling.

Lawyer Faiz Fadzil, who represented Mahfuz, told FMT a three-member bench led by acting Chief Justice Ahmad Maarop dismissed the leave aplication with RM10,000 in costs.

“The bench is of the opinion that the two questions of law framed to persuade the court to hear the appeal did not cross the threshold under Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964,” he told FMT.

This means the questions framed are not novel or of public advantage.

Faiz said the damages to be paid to Hasan, the ex-Jalur Tiga Malaysia (Jati) president, could be more as the compensation included interest.

The High Court, in December 2015, awarded RM200,000 to Hasan, also a former PAS leader, who was sacked from the party in 2011.

Hasan filed the suit against Mahfuz in April 2012 after the latter made a defamatory statement that was later carried by several dailies and online portals.

The then High Court judge, Nor Bee Ariffin, said Hasan had proved on the balance of probabiities that there was malicious intent in the statement made by Mahfuz alleging Hasan received aid from the government.

Nor Bee, in her ruling, said the statement, if read as a whole, could cause Hasan to be stigmatised and deemed an insincere person and not qualified to hold a post in politics.

The decision was also upheld by the Court of Appeal.