KUALA LUMPUR: National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) director, Akmal Nasir, is free from a lawsuit.
The High Court allowed Akmal on Thursday to strike out a lawsuit by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom. Akmal had reportedly claimed the latter abused public funds.
Akmal’s lawyer, Razlan Hadri Zulkifli, disclosed that Justice Nor Bee Ariffin found that the impugned statement by his client was a comment on Jamil’s conduct as a Minister.
“She (Justice Nor Bee) applied the case of Utusan Malaysia and Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaacob,” he said. “The court awarded cost of RM3,000 to Akmal.”
Lawyer Adnan Seman, acting for Jamil, said he will seek instructions from his client on whether to appeal over the striking out.
Jamil, in charge of Islamic affairs, sued Akmal on November 19 last year. He claimed that Akmal had alleged that he abused his position as a Minister. Akmal had reportedly further alleged that Jamil had used the Islamic Economic Development Foundation (YaPEIM) funds for personal use.
“The words used against me had caused damage to my reputation as a public figure,” said Jamil in a statement of claim.
“Besides that, the words used have the intention to cause anger and hatred against the plaintiff.”
Akmal, who is also with PKR Youth, apparently alleged during a series of press conferences last year, that Islamic funds were used by Jamil for personal gain.
The Court of Appeal in March this year, ruled that public figures cannot sue for defamation in their official capacity.
In a 31-page written judgment, Court of Appeal judge Justice Idrus Harun who presided on the case, declared the people should be able to discuss the conduct of.public officials without being subject to civil action.