Court allows Ramasamy to amend defence statement in Zakir Naik suit

Preacher Dr Zakir Naik (left) is suing Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy for defamation.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today allowed an application by Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy to amend his defence statement in a suit filed against him by preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

Zakir, a permanent resident, filed the suit in October last year claiming that Ramasamy had issued defamatory statements against him and linked him to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) issue.

Judge Mohd Firuz Jaffril allowed Ramasamy’s application after Zakir’s lawyer, Akberdin Abdul Kader, informed the court that the plaintiff did not object to it.

“In the case management before this, which was set on July 21, the lawyer for the defendant had expressed the intention to amend the defence statement. We (plaintiff) had studied the part to be amended and agreed with it,” he said.

The court set Oct 13 for another case management.

On Oct 16, 2019, Zakir sued Ramasamy for allegedly issuing defamatory statements, which were uploaded on social media sites and news portals between 2016 and 2019.

In the statement of claim, he claimed that on April 10, 2016, Ramasamy had defamed him by calling him an “unsavoury name” on his (Ramasamy’s) Facebook page and that he had also issued another defamatory statement on Oct 1, 2017, which was published on the Free Malaysia Today (FMT) news portal.

Zakir also claimed that on Aug 11, 2019, the defendant had “manipulated” the former’s speech at an event organised by the Kelantan government and this was also published on the FMT portal the same day.

On Aug 20, 2019, Ramasamy is alleged to have issued defamatory statements against the plaintiff and which were published by India Today.

Zakir claimed that these statements had depicted him as a malicious individual and a threat to the peace and harmony of the country.

He is seeking a permanent injunction to restrain Ramasamy from publishing, distributing and uploading any defamatory statement against him in any medium whatsoever, as well as general, compensatory, aggravated, and exemplary damages, costs and any other relief deemed fit by the court.

Zakir filed another suit against Ramasamy in December 2019 over his comments carried by online news portal The Malaysian Insight regarding the LTTE issue.

The court had fixed five days from March 22 next year to hear both suits, which will be heard together.