Shock over council’s move to sue animal activist for defamation

Images taken from the video show the confrontation between the man and the MPSJ officers during the dog catching incident.

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer has expressed shock over the Subang Jaya Municipal Council’s (MPSJ) move to sue an animal activist for defamation after he alleged that council officers had assaulted him during a dog catching incident.

Rajesh Nagarajan said MPSJ was suing his client, Koh Tat Meng, for defamation after Koh had filed a civil suit against the council in December.

“We are shocked and appalled that taxpayers’ money is being used to institute legal proceedings against Koh.

“The taxpayers in Subang Jaya should hold MPSJ accountable for the use of these funds,” he told FMT.

In October last year, Koh was charged under Section 186 of the Penal Code with obstructing a public servant in the discharge of his public functions outside the Vista Millennium condominium in Puchong, Selangor.

The charge carries a maximum jail term of two years, a maximum fine of RM10,000, or both upon coinviction.

Rajesh said his client had merely pleaded for mercy for the dog.

A video of the incident taken by Koh’s wife, Diong Mei Li, which went viral on social media, showed several MPSJ officers trying to catch the dog while Koh attempted to intervene.

An officer pinned Koh against a car after he made several mentions of Prophet Muhammad’s name.

Koh later said he had not intended to insult Islam but was merely asking the MPSJ personnel to show compassion towards the dog.

Rajesh said that despite MPSJ being criticised by the Tuanku Permaisuri of Selangor, Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin, and Koh’s continuous pleas to MPSJ to reconsider their position, his client was being sued for defamation

“This raises the issue as to whether public bodies, which function to serve the public, should even be allowed to sue the public for defamation,” he said.

He said public bodies were funded by the people and it was “incongruous” that MPSJ was using taxpayers’ money to sue the public for defamation.

The Selangor government expressed regret over the officers’ behaviour but said procedures must be followed to ensure the well-being of animals and the safety of personnel.