KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has allowed Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok to begin contempt proceedings against a Malay rights group leader for failing to honour an out-of-court settlement in a defamation suit against him.
Judge Rohani Ismail gave Kok the green light to cite Azwanddin Hamzah after allowing her an ex-parte application to initiate proceedings for showing disrespect to the court.
Lawyer SN Nair said the application was filed last week as Azwanddin, who is president of Jaringan Melayu Malaysia, had not fulfilled the terms of settlement for the defamation action which did not go to trial.
“A hearing has been fixed on Oct 21, and Azwanddin can now participate in the proceeding,” he told reporters after the judge gave the order in chambers.
On July 29, Kok settled her suit against Azwanddin regarding his claim at a gathering for fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim that she was involved in the land dispute over the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple.
Nair told reporters then that the case would not go on trial as both parties had settled the suit by way of consent order, with Azwanddin to pay Kok an undisclosed sum of money.
The lawyer said his client was forced to return to court as Azwanddin failed to comply with the court order within 45 days of the settlement.
He said an apology was also recorded before Rohani in her chambers.
Under the court’s consent order, he said, Azwanddin must publish an apology within a week in three newspapers: The Star, Sin Chew Daily and Sinar Harian.
He must also retract his statement about Kok which he made on social media.
Kok filed the suit in January, saying Azwanddin’s allegation was baseless.
She said she was never involved in the temple riots which took place in November last year, and that Azwanddin’s statement was “clearly motivated by bad motive and malicious intentions”.
She sought an unspecified amount of damages as well as an injunction forbidding Azwanddin or his agents from repeating the statement in question.