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Court allows Hadi Awang’s bid to squash suit over seditious remark (Updated)

07 May 2021 / 15:14 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (pix) today has succeeded in his bid to strike out an originating summons filed against him by two Sabahans over an alleged seditious remark against Christians which was published in Harakah newspaper five years ago.

High Court Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir in his decision, allowed the application by Abdul Hadi to quash the suit filed by Maklin Masiau and Lawrence Jomiji Kinsil @ Maximilhian as the first and second plaintiffs, saying that the suit has no locus standi, frivolous and an abuse of court process.

“When I look at the originating summons, if anybody is to be blamed for seditious tendencies, they are the plaintiffs themselves. They (plaintiffs) have resurrected the matter which occurred in 2016 and made it a new issue.

“Therefore I’m allowing the defendant’s (Abdul Hadi) application to strike out the originating summons because it is frivolous and an abuse of the court process,” he said.

The judge also ordered each of the plaintiffs to pay punitive costs of RM50,000 to the defendant.

Explaining the costs, Justice Akhtar said as he had already pointed out, this was not public interest litigation, so the plaintiffs could not hide behind the allegation that it was.

“It is a frivolous case which can choke the justice system with unnecessary litigation.

“(The phrase) ‘see you in court’ has now become a fashion statement. We shouldn’t allow it to bring frivolous action, for that I’m going to impose RM50,000 costs against each of the plaintiffs to be paid to the defendant,” the judge said.

Justice Akhtar further said that in the case, the copy of the Harakah article was not produced before the court.

“The court was led with a reproduction of the article in another publication which was fraught with danger because we don’t know what was actually said in the actual article. This reproduction is in English, it is not clear whether the original Harakah article was in English or another language,” he said.

Furthermore, the judge said there was nothing in the purported remark allegedly given by the defendant that referred to the plaintiffs.

“Rather, it was referring to Christian missionaries. The plaintiffs did not represent themselves as Christian missionaries in this suit,” he said.

The judge stressed that the plaintiffs also failed to show that the suit was filed because it involved public interest.

“A suit does not automatically become a matter of public interest just because it involves a public figure. The purported remark was made four years ago, it cannot be proven why and how it can become a matter of public interest now,” he said.

The plaintiffs were represented by lawyer R.Kengadharan and Marcus Lee Min Lun while counsel Yusfarizal Yussoff and Adam Luqman Amdan acted for Abdul Hadi.

The plaintiffs filed the suit against Abdul Hadi on Dec 9, 2020, to seek a declaration that he is unfit to hold any position in the government, including that of a position equivalent to a ministerial post, over his seditious statement in Harakah against Christians and Christian missionaries on Jan 18, 2016. - Bernama

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