KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has fixed May 24 for case management of a civil suit filed by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak against Petaling Jaya Utara member of parliament Tony Pua and an online news portal's owner for allegedly defaming the prime minister over issues linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Deputy registrar K. Pavani fixed the date before Justice Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim, who has been assigned to hear and decide the case after the previous judge, High Court Judicial Commissioner Roslan Abu Bakar, was transferred to Shah Alam.
Lawyer Nor Emelia Iszeham, who represented Najib, said the new judge will be updated on the outcome of a few cases pending in the appellate court, which will decide whether a public officer can sue for defamation in his personal capacity.
Lawyer Joanne Chua, who represented Pua, was also present before the deputy registrar.
Pua plans to strike out the suit on grounds that Najib, as a public officer, has no legal standing to sue for defamation.
On March 5 last year Najib, in his personal capacity, filed a defamation suit naming Pua, 43, and Mediarakyat.net portal owner Chan Chee Kong, 52, as the first and second defendants.
Najib claims that on Nov 13, 2014, Pua, as the main speaker at the DAP fund-raising dinner had uttered defamatory remarks against 1MDB.
In his statement of claim, Najib said the recorded speech contained words that referred and related specifically to him (Najib).
The prime minister claimed that the publication of the defamatory words had injured his reputation as the recording of the speech could be assessed widely throughout the world via Internet, blogs, forums and websites without any restriction and could be reshared.