Report: Woman sued for defamation by MACC chief formally replies in court

·2-min read
MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki speaks to members of the media during a Transparency International forum at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur September 15, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki speaks to members of the media during a Transparency International forum at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur September 15, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — Anti-corruption activist Lalitha Kunaratnam, the woman who wrote about Tan Sri Azam Baki’s share acquisition in two public-listed companies last year, has responded in court to the defamation suit filed against her by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief.

Lawyers from the firm Ibrahim & Fuaadah confirmed Lalitha’s filing of a memorandum of appearance at the High Court here last Friday, news portal Malaysiakini reported today.

Azam is suing Lalitha for defamation and is seeking RM10 million as compensation.

According to the news portal, the High Court has set February 15 for case management.

Azam, 59, filed the suit yesterday through Messrs. Zain Megat & Murad and named Lalitha, 39, as the sole defendant.

In his statement of claim, Azam named Lalitha as the author of two articles titled “Business Ties Among MACC Leadership: How Deep Does It Go? (Part 1)” and “Business Ties Among MACC Leadership: How Deep Does It Go? (Part Two)” that were published by the Asia-based Independent News Service (INS) on October 26 and republished on December 15 last year.

He also claimed that Lalitha had shared links to the articles on her Twitter account @LalithaVelvet that are still accessible to this day.

Azam claimed that the articles are sensational, scandalous and offensive and were written and republished with malicious intent to give a bad perception to the readers that the plaintiff was a corrupt civil servant or one who has abused his position as a senior MACC official for his or his sibling’s interests.

Last weekend, a peaceful street protest called #TangkapAzamBaki (CatchAzamBaki) was held with protestors citing disappointment over the apparent inaction against Azam and his stock trading issues whereby he said his brother, Nasir Baki, had used his account to buy millions worth of shares in two public-listed companies back in 2015.

Azam has denied any wrongdoing, saying the amount has since been transferred to Nasir’s account.

However, he has not explained publicly why Nasir had to use his account to buy those shares.

Azam has also been summoned but refused to attend a hearing by the Parliamentary Select Committee for Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department on his stock purchasing activities.

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