Court throws out Kula’s demand for security for costs from Zakir Naik

Former human resources minister M Kula Segaran and Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has dismissed the application by former human resources minister M Kula Segaran for security for costs against controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

Naik filed defamation suits last year against Kula, Penang Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy, Klang MP Charles Santiago and Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy who are also DAP leaders.

Kula, who is the party’s national vice-chairman, had sought in June for Naik to deposit RM100,000 with his lawyer or the court as security for costs.

Such an application is made when the plaintiff resides abroad. The defendant would request security for costs, where the money would be paid should the court dismiss the suit.

Judicial commissioner Quay Chew Soon threw out Kula’s application as Naik was domiciled in Malaysia.

“He is ordinarily a resident and domiciled by virtue of him being a permanent resident,” the judge said.

Naik, who was represented by Sulaiman Abdullah and Akberdin Abdul Kader, was also awarded RM5,000 in costs.

Sulaiman submitted that the application was oppressive and aimed at discouraging Naik from continuing with his action.

Case management was fixed on Sept 4.

K Shanmuga, who represented Kula, said he would obtain instructions from his client on whether to appeal against the decision.

The suit against Kula, who is also Ipoh Barat MP, is in connection with a FMT report titled “DAP: No reason for Malaysia to protect Zakir Naik”, published on April 17, 2017.

Naik also mentioned a press release by Kula on Aug 13 last year titled “Zakir Naik’s presence is embarrassing to all Malaysians”.

Kula, in his defence, pleaded justification, fair comment and qualified privilege.

Naik, who is demanding compensation and exemplary damages, accused the defendants of ridiculing him and depicting him in a bad light and as a threat to the country’s security.

He also described himself as a renowned preacher and orator on comparative religion, saying he had received numerous awards including the Tokoh Maal Hijrah International Personality Award in 2013.

Naik previously lodged a police report in Shah Alam against Kula, Ramasamy, Santiago, Satees and former ambassador Dennis Ignatius, claiming they had made defamatory statements against him.

This followed reports in which Naik was said to have claimed that Malaysians of Indian origin were more loyal to the Narendra Modi government than to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, while Chinese Malaysians were “old guests” who should go back to their ancestral land.