KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 4 — Umno’s Sungai Besar candidate Datuk Seri Jamal Md Yunos today insisted he could contest the Selangor seat in the 15th general election despite pending bankruptcy action against, arguing that the matter was not concluded.
Jamal accused DAP’s incumbent Seputeh MP Teresa Kok of making the malicious and politically-motivated claim that he should be unfit to contest because of the bankruptcy action she launched against him for failing to pay court-ordered damages to her over a defamation lawsuit.
Jamal said he was advised by his lawyer Rejinder Singh that no bankruptcy order has been issued on him yet and that “until a bankruptcy order is made and all my appeals failed, then only will I lose the chance to contest”.
“As long as the court has not made a bankruptcy order against me, then I am qualified to contest in this 15th general election,” the Sungai Besar Umno division chief said in a statement today, citing the Insolvency Act 1967 and his lawyer’s advice.
Jamal argued that Kok’s claim that the bankruptcy proceedings should disqualify him was inaccurate, irrelevant, and should be rejected.
“I stress here that Teresa Kok’s action is a desperate act as an attempt to thwart me from becoming an election candidate, although the facts are clear that I have yet to be issued any bankruptcy order in line with the Insolvency Act 1967,” he said.
Jamal denied that the bankruptcy proceedings against him have even started, claiming that the case management will only be done on November 30 and that his lawyer would be challenging the matter entirely.
Citing Article 48 of the Federal Constitution, Jamal then reiterated that he believed he remains eligible as a GE15 candidate on the nomination day tomorrow and on voting day on November 19, until a bankruptcy order has been made against him and all appeals have been decided on.
Yesterday, Kok wrote to Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh to object to Jamal’s potential nomination as a GE15 candidate, pointing out that she had on August 30 initiated bankruptcy proceedings against Jamal and that there is a likelihood of him being declared bankrupt.
“Further to the above, I truly believe that YB Datuk Seri Jamal is not a suitable individual to be named as a candidate to contest in GE15 because there is a possibility that he will be declared bankrupt from the bankruptcy proceedings,” she had said when urging for the EC to reject Jamal’s nomination.
On July 26, the High Court ordered Jamal to pay RM300,000 in compensation and RM50,000 in costs to Kok for defaming her.
When Jamal failed to pay up, Kok filed a bankruptcy suit against him.
Later, Jamal’s supporters raised as much as RM300,000 in a donation drive called “Solidarity Fund to Save Jamal” to help pay for his damages and legal fees incurred in two separate defamation suits filed individually by Kok and her fellow Opposition MP Maria Chin Abdullah.
Jamal today said that he is pursuing an appeal at the Court of Appeal against the High Court order for him to pay RM300,000 as compensation to Kok.
I will sue next week
In a separate statement, Jamal today announced that he has instructed his lawyer to file a civil lawsuit “next week” at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur to sue Kok for allegedly defaming him.
Jamal said the alleged defamation was done through a Facebook post made on September 25, and that his lawyer had on October 25 sent a letter of demand to Kok to seek for a RM5 million compensation and unconditional public apology within seven days.
Jamal said the alleged defamation was in relation to claims that he had taken advantage to follow the prime minister to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly using public funds, but said he did not join the prime minister’s entourage to attend that UN General Assembly meet.
While noting that Kok had through her lawyers on November 3 sent a reply to his lawyer Rejinder, Jamal said he was dissatisfied with the explanation given by Kok and believed that his reputation had already been damaged due to Kok’s statement and said the lawsuit would be filed next week.