PUTRAJAYA: A defamation appeal case by Baling MP Azeez Abdul Rahim against former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng was vacated today after a Court of Appeal judge recused himself, saying he had represented one of the parties while he was a lawyer.
Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, chairing a three-member bench, said he realised this yesterday when reading the file in preparation for the hearing.
“I have to recuse myself because of my connections with one of the parties as a (former) lawyer,” he said during an online proceeding.
Vazeer said the matter would be referred for case management to fix a hearing date.
The other judges were Hadhariah Syed Ismail and Mariana Yahya.
On Dec 11, 2020, the Penang High Court dismissed Azeez’s suit against Lim in connection with the state’s undersea tunnel project.
Azeez had filed the suit in 2018, alleging that Lim had made defamatory statements during a press conference in Penang on Feb 28, 2018.
He claimed that Lim had linked him with a payment of RM3 million in consultation fees by the developer of the project.
Azeez had sought general and exemplary damages and other relief deemed fit by the court.
Judge Rozila Yop dismissed the suit on grounds that Azeez failed to prove his case. She also ordered Azeez to pay Lim costs of RM50,000.
Lawyer Porres Royen represented Azeez, and N Mureli appeared for Lim in today’s proceeding.