Khairy’s appeal against Anwar’s defamation suit on Sept 29

Khairy Jamaluddin and Anwar Ibrahim.

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has fixed Sept 29 to hear Khairy Jamaluddin’s bid to challenge the decision to strike out his appeal in a defamation suit brought by Anwar Ibrahim in 2008.

Lawyer J Leela, who is appearing for the PKR president, said the hearing was scheduled for today but taken off the list as the courts are not hearing cases due to the national shutdown to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Hopefully, this appeal will be heard on the next date and a decision delivered soon,” she told FMT after a case management before deputy registrar Azniza Mohd Ali today.

On April 10 last year, Khairy obtained leave from the apex court to challenge the Court of Appeal ruling.

The appellate court had maintained on Feb 19, 2018 the RM150,000 in damages awarded to Anwar after striking out Khairy’s appeal.

A three-man bench, chaired by Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, said Khairy’s notice was “ambiguous and uncertain”.

Tengku Maimun, who is now the chief justice said the bench was bound by a Federal Court ruling that an appellant must file separate notices if there is more than one appeal.

Khairy had appealed against High Court judge Azizul Azmi Adnan’s decision barring him from amending his statement of defence after trial began, finding him liable and ordering the quantum of damages.

He filed a single notice of appeal to which Anwar responded by filing an application to annul the notice, saying it was defective.

In 2017, Azizul ruled that Khairy’s “main belakang” statement in 2008 had a sexual connotation meant to attack Anwar and dismissed Khairy’s defence of fair comment and qualified privilege.

Azizul ordered Khairy to pay Anwar RM150,000 in damages and a further RM60,000 in costs.

In the RM100 million suit, Anwar alleged that Khairy, then the Umno Youth vice-chief, had uttered defamatory words against him at a ceramah in Lembah Pantai on Feb 20, 2008.

Anwar claimed that the “main belakang” phrase used by Khairy suggested that he was a homosexual and a person of low morals.