SUNGAI PETANI: Azmin Ali has denied a claim that he defamed former finance minister Lim Guan Eng, claiming the word “langsi” (arrogant) was not defamatory.
The Perikatan Nasional information chief also alleged it was public knowledge that Lim “used” the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) to put pressure on companies linked to MCA.
“The statement was made based on Lim’s own open statements about MCA,” he claimed in a defence statement filed in response to Lim’s defamation suit.
Azmin also said he was not aware of the presence of any journalist from The Star when he uttered the allegedly defamatory remarks and put Lim to strict proof of his claim that they were made in the presence of reporters.
“The defendant (Azmin) is not responsible for any interpretation which members of the media covering the event may have given to his words,” the document said.
Lim is suing Azmin for claiming that the DAP chairman’s “langsi” style had scared off Chinese businesses.
Azmin is alleged to have made the remark when addressing the Chinese community in Lunas, Kedah last November in the run-up to the 15th general election.
Azmin was quoted in The Star as saying that Lim, who was then finance minister, had used LHDN to “go after” companies linked to MCA.
He then allegedly advised Lim to deal with matters relating to tax evasion properly, and not to be “langsi”.
Azmin is also alleged to have claimed that Lim’s conduct had created fear within the business community, particularly among the Chinese.
In his statement of claim, Lim had said that although MCA was a political adversary at the time he was finance minister, he did not “chase down” companies linked to the party as claimed.
He said the statements had injured his character and reputation.
Lim said the remarks also made it appear that he had abused his power as finance minister and carried out selective persecution of companies linked to MCA.