Jamal withdraws bid to have defamation suits by Kok, Yeo heard jointly

Former ministers Teresa Kok (centre) and Yeo Bee Yin allege that Jamal Md Yunos defamed them concerning funds belonging to a foundation.

KUALA LUMPUR: Sungai Besar Umno division chief Jamal Md Yunos today withdrew his application to the High Court to have the defamation suits filed against him by two former ministers heard jointly.

Former primary industries minister Teresa Kok and former energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister Yeo Bee Yin filed their suits on April 6 and June 14, 2017, respectively, claiming that Jamal had made defamatory statements about them concerning the alleged misappropriation of funds belonging to Yayasan Warisan Anak Selangor (Yawas).

Lawyer Mohammed Nasser Yusof, representing Jamal, told Justice Rozana Ali Yusoff his client wanted the application to be withdrawn on the grounds that recent developments in the country’s administration had led the status of Jamal’s witnesses to be changed from subpoenaed to voluntary.

Lawyer Tan Han Sam, representing Yeo, did not object to the application.

The court granted Jamal’s application and fixed April 21 for case management to set the trial dates for Yeo’s suit against him.

Today was supposed to be the decision on whether a joint trial will be allowed.

Mohammed Nasser told Bernama that Jamal’s intention to apply for the two cases to be tried together was to save costs and the court’s time.

Following the change of status of the witnesses, he said, the issue of cost does not arise any more.

Both Kok and Yeo are claiming that Jamal, the sole defendant in the suits, had issued defamatory statements against them concerning the Yawas funds, and that the statements were published in the print and electronic media, including Jamal’s Facebook page.

They further claim that the statements gave the impression that they had misappropriated Yawas funds for their own use, and that they were unethical and could not be trusted.

Kok and Yeo are claiming general damages of RM1 million and RM5 million, respectively, along with compensatory, aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as an injunction to prevent Jamal and any of his agents from republishing the alleged defamatory statements.