KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi has removed his February 9 Facebook post which was cited in a defamation lawsuit against him by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
This is after the High Court on March 1 granted Muhyiddin’s ex-parte application for an interim injunction or temporary injunction to stop Puad from publishing the alleged defamatory Facebook post or other similar contents for now.
The interim injunction obtained on March 1 is in effect until an inter-parte hearing or a hearing involving both sides on the interim injunction.
The High Court has fixed March 12 for the inter-parte hearing of the interim injunction.
In the interim injunction granted on March 1, the High Court ordered a temporary injunction to stop Puad or his associates and representatives from publishing, posting, sharing or resharing the alleged defamatory Facebook post or similar and related statements to the Facebook post’s contents.
In the same interim injunction order, the High Court said it is “contempt of court” for anyone to breach or cause the breaching of the injunction despite knowing of such an injunction, and that this court order will be in effect until the disposal of an inter-parte hearing of the interim injunction.
Following the interim injunction ordered by the High Court on March 1, Muhyiddin’s law firm Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership had on March 2 written to Puad’s lawyers, informing them of the interim injunction.
“For the avoidance of doubt, as Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi is restrained from continuing to publish the impugned post, he is hereby ordered to remove the said post immediately,” Muhyiddin’s lawyers said, referring to the February 9 Facebook post.
In the March 2 letter, Muhyiddin’s lawyers pointed out that the effect of the High Court’s interim injunction is that there could be contempt of court proceedings against Puad, his associates, his agents, or his representatives or anyone with knowledge of the injunction order, if they disobey the injunction order.
Muhyiddin’s lawyers had also on March 3 wrote directly to Puad to inform him of the interim injunction granted by the court, and that he is required to immediately remove the February 9 Facebook post and that failure to comply with the court order could result in contempt of court proceedings.
On March 4, Puad posted on his Facebook page an announcement that he had been informed on March 3 that he has been sued by Muhyiddin and an ex-parte injunction order had been granted against him, adding that he accepts the order and was in the process of seeking legal advice.
Stating that he believed in the country’s judicial system and will defend himself in court, Puad in the March 4 Facebook post said he will not make any further statements regarding the lawsuit out of respect to the court.
It is understood that Puad’s lawyers had on March 4 initially asked the High Court for a date to be fixed for them to seek clarification from the judge on the nature of the interim injunction granted through the ex-parte application,
But the High Court is understood to have replied by saying that there would be no clarification date and that any matter can be dealt with at the inter-parte hearing on March 12, and had asked for compliance with the order to remove the February 9 Facebook posting in the meantime.
At the time of writing, Malay Mail’s check of Puad’s Facebook page showed that the February 9 post can no longer be seen on the page.
On March 1, Muhyiddin filed a defamation lawsuit against Puad over the latter’s February 9 posting titled “Kuarantin Pun Ada Dua Darjat” on his Facebook page “DrPuad Zarkashi”, with Muhyiddin’s lawyers saying that the Facebook post and its contents are untrue and baseless.
While Muhyiddin is the prime minister of Malaysia, his lawyers made it clear in the court papers that he had filed the defamation lawsuit in his “personal capacity as a private citizen”.
In the defamation lawsuit against Puad, Muhyiddin is seeking compensation in the form of general damages, exemplary damages, and aggravated damages with the amount to be assessed and determined by the court.
Muhyiddin is also seeking an injunction to restrain Puad or his associates or representatives from publishing, posting, sharing the February 9 Facebook post or continuing to do so, as well as an injunction to stop such actions in relation to statements similar or related to the Facebook post.
The prime minister is also seeking a court order for Puad to immediately, prominently and permanently publish an unequivocal public apology on Puad’s Facebook page “DrPuad Zarkashi” in terms to be dictated by Muhyiddin, as well as a court order for Puad to cause all the news portal and social media — that will be identified by Muhyiddin — that had published the alleged defamatory remarks in his Facebook post to also immediately and prominently publish an apology.
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