(Petaling Jaya, Friday): I have authorised my lawyers to file a RM200 million to RM300 million defamation suit against Utusan Malaysia next Tuesday for its news report last Saturday, 13th February 1999, alleging that I am not patriotic. The final figure would be settled early next week.
I am instituting the mega million-ringgit defamation suit against Utusan Malaysia for four reasons:
· To redeem my honour, character, integrity and reputation as
it had been besmirched by Utusan Malaysia when it reported that I was "not
patriotic", which is akin to suggesting that I am a traitor to the
nation and a person no Malaysian should trust.
In deciding on the range of defamation damages I should seek from Utusan Malaysia, my lawyers and I have taken into account two recent defamation suits, one by the son of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Mirzan Mahathir, who sued the printers of Asian Wall Street Journal (AWSJ) - Star Papyrus, a subsidiary of Star Publications - for RM150 million for an article entitled Mahathir's Eldest Son Limits Ambitions written by Mr Bruce Knecht and the other by Berjaya Group chairman and chief executive Tan Sri Vincent Tan who sued Star Papyrus for RM 200 million for another AWSJ article entitled Malaysia Props Up Crony Capitalists written by local academic Professor K.S. Jomo.
My lawyers have also prepared another RM200 million to RM300 million mega defamation suit against the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir for his most defamatory statements against me when he said that I had made "baseless" allegations about the prison conditions of DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, to gain "political mileage and publicity by tarnishing the image of the government" and that my allegations were "merely lies which were unfair to the prison officers who were serving with much dedication".
Abdul Kadir even made the preposterous allegation that I was trying to "thwart the Government's efforts to bring investors back" and "scare away tourists".
I have however instructed my lawyers to hold on to the mega defamation suit against Abdul Kadir as I want to give the new Deputy Home Minister a chance to clarify that he was misled with facts and data about prison conditions and life which made him say things which he should have never said but for which he must bear full personal responsibility - such as calling me a "liar".
I will instruct my lawyers to file the mega defamation suit against Abdul Kadir if he is not prepared to retract all the baseless allegations he had made against me and admit that the prison conditions in Malaysia fail to comply with minimum international standards.