C4 says allegations against Adham in ‘public interest’

Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, whom the Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism has linked to a graft scandal.

PETALING JAYA: An anti-graft group says it will not pay RM30 million in damages to the health minister for linking him to a company being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over a contract worth the same amount or issue a public apology for the matter.

In its reply to Dr Adham Baba’s notice of demand, the Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) through its lawyers defended the move to link the minister to the scandal on grounds that it was a matter of public interest.

C4’s lawyers, Asheeq Ali & Co, said their client had the “interest and duty” to communicate its concerns on such matters, while the public also had the right to know as the questions raised by the group were the source of “public disquiet”.

“Your client as the minster of health was asked to provide an explanation of the matters raised in the interest of transparency and accountability,” it said in a statement.

Last Monday, C4 linked Adham to a company allegedly involved in a RM30 million contract for Covid-19 equipment.

C4 alleged a connection between the contract parties and a shareholder in Adham’s company which owns a chain of private clinics in Johor.

Adham dismissed the accusation, calling it a malicious attempt at character assassination.

In a notice of demand, he said the statement was “defamatory and libellous” as it implied that he had misused his power, was dishonest and unfit to hold public office.

But C4’s lawyers said the statement made by their client was “honestly made with no malice intended”.

“The meanings and innuendo attributed to the statement are, with respect, far-fetched. Our client denies them. In the circumstances, our client is unable to accede to your demands.”

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