Perlis mufti sues man for RM10 mil over ‘religious bigot’ allegation

Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.

SHAH ALAM: Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has filed a RM10 million defamation suit against an individual over claims that he is a “religious bigot” and said to be involved in a kidnapping case.

Asri, in his lawsuit, claimed that statements by T Arunakirinathan on his Facebook post on Nov 26 last year had implied that the mufti was involved in terrorism.

Another video was published one day later on Arunakirinathan’s Facebook, alleging that Asri was involved in Perlis activist Amri Che Mat’s disappearance.

“Both Facebook statements are false and the defendant (Arunakirinathan) made his statements with the intention to tarnish my name,” Asri said.

He added that he had been humiliated by Arunakirinathan’s Facebook statements.

Asri, in denying the “religious bigot” claim, said as a Muslim he places emphasis on the principle of moderation.

The mufti, who said he was a former Chevening scholar, is seeking a court order to compel Arunakirinathan to publish an open apology in newspapers and on Facebook.

He is also seeking RM10 million in general damages, as well as an unspecific amount in exemplary and aggravated damages.

Lawyer Meor Amir Meor Omar Baki, representing Asri, said the hearing for the lawsuit would start on Dec 17 before High Court judge SM Komathy Suppiah.

Asri had previously testified in a Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) inquiry that his officers from the state religious council, and policemen, went to Amri’s house “unannounced” sometime in 2015.

Asri was sued recently by controversial religious officer Zamihan Mat Zin for RM2 million after the mufti allegedly called Zamihan an “extremist”.

FMT understands Asri is appointing lawyers to fight Zamihan’s lawsuit. Zamihan’s case is set for mention on Aug 1 at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.