KUALA LUMPUR: Former human resources minister M Kula Segaran has no right to ask how controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik obtained his permanent residency, a court document reveals.
Naik, who has filed a defamation lawsuit against Kula, said suffice to say his permanent residency status was valid and in accordance with the law.
“The defendant (Kula) has no right to question or the right to demand from the plaintiff (Naik) to produce documentary evidence that the permanent residentship status was obtained legally,” Naik said.
The preacher said this in a written submission seeking the dismissal of Kula’s discovery application to find out about his permanent resident status. The submission was filed on Oct 16 by legal firm Akberdin & Co, the solicitors for Naik.
Judicial commissioner Quay Chew Soon fixed Nov 13 to hear oral submissions and to seek clarification.
Naik’s court papers sighted by FMT also said the judge had no jurisdiction to hear and consider Kula’s application as the subject matter was only a defamation suit.
It said the suit had disclosed a reasonable cause of action and that it was not scandalous, frivolous or vexatious or an abuse of court process.
Naik’s document said the court had on Aug 14 dismissed Kula’s application for security for costs and this application for discovery was an attempt to stifle Naik’s suit.
“It is respectfully submitted that the defendant is trying to delay the defamation trial,” it said, adding that the discovery application must be dismissed with costs.
The suit against Kula, who is also Ipoh Barat MP, is in connection with an 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 defendant 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.