by m. mageswari
KUALA LUMPUR: Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd has failed to strike out a defamation lawsuit against it by Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.
High Court judge Justice Yeoh Wee Siam dismissed Utusan Melayu’s application on Thursday and ordered the publisher to pay Adnan RM3,000 in costs.
Speaking to reporters here, Utusan Melayu's lawyer M. Reza Hassan said the judge did not accept their submission that the Mentri Besar has no locus standi or legal right under the law to file the suit.
"The application to strike out was on the basis that the article was critical of Adnan's administration. We say that he has no locus.
"If an elected representative is criticised, he has no locus under the law. The court did not agree, causing our application to be dismissed," added Reza.
However, Reza said the judge allowed their application to stay the court ruling, pending appeal.
"There will be no trial for this suit on next Monday. We will file an appeal soon," added Reza, who was assisted by lawyer Azhar Arman Ali.
Counsel Americk Sidhu appeared for Adnan.
In his suit filed in December last year, Adnan said Utusan Melayu had, on Nov 9, published an article in Mingguan Malaysia under the headline Hebat Sangatkah Adnan?.
Adnan said his reputation as a national leader and politician had been adversely affected by the article.
He claimed that the article implied that he had failed in carrying out his duties and overstayed his position as Mentri Besar.
Among others, Adnan said the article implied that he had used his political position to abuse the media when it was critical of him.
In the statement of claim filed on Dec 5 last year, he said the article also implied that he was a liability to the political party he represented.
He is seeking general, aggravated and exemplary damages, an apology and an undertaking not to repeat publication of such defamatory material against him.