KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Supporters have raised some RM300,000 in a donation drive launched to help Sungai Besar Umno division chief Datuk Seri Jamal Md Yunos pay for damages and legal fees incurred in two separate defamation suits filed individually by Opposition MPs Maria Chin and Teresa Kok.
The campaign, the Solidarity Fund to Save Jamal, was launched on Saturday by a grassroots group called Coalition of Selangor’s Sons. Its leader, Datuk Faizal Zakaria, said on the day of the launch itself donations had reached RM200,000.
“Latest this morning was around RM300,000,” he told Malay Mail via a text message.
The Court of Appeal on March 8 had dismissed Jamal’s appeal to set aside a High Court’s decision that held him liable for defaming Maria, who once led polls reform group Bersih 2.0.
Petaling Jaya MP and former Bersih 2.0 leader Maria Chin Abdullah arrives for court proceeding against Sungai Besar Umno chief Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos at Kuala Lumpur High Court July 23, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Maria sued Jamal for defamation for linking her and Bersih 2.0 with the Islamic State militant group. She is now MP for Petaling Jaya.
The Umno leader was instructed to pay RM300,000 in damages but the appellate court had allowed Jamal’s appeal to reduce the quantum of damages to RM150,000 from RM300,000 previously.
In a separate suit, the High Court ruled in July that Jamal had defamed Seputeh DAP MP Kok and ordered him to pay RM300,000 in compensation and RM50,000 in costs.
Seputih MP Teresa Kok is pictured after she wins defamation suit against Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos at Kuala Lumpur High Court July 26, 2022. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Judicial commissioner Datuk Mohd Arief Emran Arifin said Jamal had failed to prove his defence against Kok’s accusations.
The Umno leader has yet to pay the damages, which prompted Kok to file a bankruptcy suit on September 18.
Faizal said the donation drive was launched because of the bankruptcy proceeding filed by the DAP lawmaker. The group has set a target of RM600,000 to pay both Maria and Kok and to cover legal fees.
“We need to pay Teresa RM300,000 and Maria RM150,000 and some RM60,000 for legal costs,” he said. He did not state what the balance would be used for.
At the launch of the donation campaign on Saturday, Faizal said they are confident that the target can be met in just seven days.
Jamal became a firebrand leader for Umno under then president Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak because of his penchant for provocative antics and for making what critics say are incendiary statements.
Much of the attacks were often targeted at minority ethnicities.