Judge in last effort to settle Kit Siang-Hanif defamation suit out of court

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and former inspector-general of police Hanif Omar.

KUALA LUMPUR: High Court judge Azimah Omar wants to meet Lim Kit Siang and former top cop Hanif Omar in the presence of their lawyers to mediate an out-of-court settlement over the DAP leader’s defamation suit, FMT has learnt.

Lim’s lead counsel Ramkarpal Singh said the judge wants to make a final attempt at exploring a settlement without having to go through a trial.

“Lim and Hanif have been asked to be present at the next case management at 2.30pm on Aug 28,” Ramkarpal told FMT.

Lim was represented by Rayveni Asogan at case management before Azimah today.

Ramkarpal said the parties had attempted over the past month to settle the matter on Azimah’s instructions, but that this had failed.

“We updated the judge but she wants to make a final attempt at mediation, failing which a trial date will be fixed,” Ramkarpal said.

Lim filed the suit on Oct 17 last year, claiming that Hanif had, while giving a speech at a “Karamah Bangsa” convention at Universiti Teknologi Mara in Shah Alam on Sept 6, accused Lim of intentionally ordering DAP to split Peninsular Malaysia into two, to divide the Malays and the Chinese.

Lim also claimed that the statement was published in Sinar Harian daily.

In his statement of claim, the Iskandar Puteri MP said Hanif had also maliciously caused the publication of the alleged defamatory statement in the Malaysiakini and FMT news portals on Sept 6 and 7.

Lim claimed that the statement had ruined his reputation as an MP and a public figure.

He also claimed that a letter dated Sept 12 was sent to the defendant instructing him to withdraw the statement and apologise.

However, the defendant’s lawyer replied, denying the statement made against the plaintiff.

Lim is seeking general, aggravated and exemplary damages as well as an injunction to prohibit Hanif or any of his agents from repeating or republishing the statements.