Anwar's suit against Dr M - dismissed

KUALA LUMPUR: The Court of Appeal has allowed an application by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to strike out Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal on his RM100mil defamation suit against the former Prime Minister.

This means that Anwar’s appeal, which was to have been heard on Nov 2 in the Court of Appeal, has been dismissed.

The court’s three-man bench, comprising Justices Abdul Malik Ishak, Azhar Maah and Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad, made the unanimous ruling after standing-down for an hour to deliberate on the matter.

“We had anxiously perused through the arguments with a fine-tooth comb and deliberated on the matter thoroughly.

“After applying appropriate and judicious consideration, we are glad to announce we have reached a unanimous decision – the appellant’s appeal is dismissed with costs,” said Justice Abdul Malik.

He added that the full grounds for the judgement would be ready in due course.

Dr Mahathir’s counsel Datuk V.K. Lingam in his submission contended that Anwar’s Memorandum of Appeal, which had only been filed in English, was in “blatant disregard” to provisions in the Federal Con­stitution, the National Language Act, the Interpretation Act and the Rules of the Court of Appeal.

He also said that the memorandum was invalid as it was not signed by Anwar’s lawyers, was not specifically dated, and that a chronology of events had not been included, among others.

Anwar’s counsel Karpal Singh, however, said that Lingam’s application was suspect, as he did not apply for the court’s permission to submit in English.

“We accept that there are defects but they are not fatal. The courts do not, as days of old, go on the issues of technicalities.

“The case ought to be heard on its merits, and we have enough time to cure the defects. We urge the court to use its discretion,” he said in asking the court to dismiss Dr Mahathir’s application.

On Jan 27, 2006, Anwar filed the suit against Dr Mahathir for allegedly portraying him as a man of no morals and who was dangerous to Malaysian society.

Anwar alleged that Dr Mahathir had publicly uttered such words to journalists at a conference organised by Suhakam on Sept 9, 2005, knowing that he (Anwar) had been acquitted and discharged by the Federal Court on Sept 2, 2004 on charges of sodomy, and also after the Kuala Lumpur High Court had ruled in his favour on Aug 18, 2005 on a defamation suit he had brought against the author of the book 50 Dalil Mengapa Anwar Tidak Boleh Jadi PM.

On Jan 5, 2007, Dr Mahathir filed the application saying that Anwar’s writ of summons and statement of claim should be struck out because it was scandalous, frivolous or vexatious.

The High Court dismissed Anwar’s suit on July 4, 2007, and he subsequently filed his appeal on July 5, 2007, against that decision.

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