SHAH ALAM MP FAILS IN SUIT AGAINST WANITA UMNO INFO CHIEF

12 Jul 2013 11:19

SHAH ALAM, July 12 (Bernama) -- The High Court today dismissed a defamation suit brought by Shah Alam Member of Parliament Abdul Khalid Samad against Wanita Umno Information chief Datuk Hamidah Osman over her alleged posting on her blog of a photograph that portrayed him as a Christian priest and an apostate.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Hashim Hamzah found that Abdul Khalid had failed to tender the original document alleged to be the defamatory article.

He ordered Abdul Khalid, who is also Selangor PAS Commissioner III, to pay RM20,000 in costs.

Both Abdul Khalid and Hamidah, who is also the former assemblyman of Sungai Rapat in Perak, were not present in court.

Abdul Khalid filed the suit against Hamidah two years ago over a superimposed photograph of him in the defendant's blog, hamidahosman.blogspot.com, on Jan 2010.

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In the claim, filed on Dec 23, 2011, Abdul Khalid said the photograph had portrayed him as a Christian priest and an apostate.

In his 23-page written judgment, Hashim said Abdul Khalid claimed that the said article published by Hamidah had defamed him and, as such, he would have to produce the alleged defamatory original document.

However, Hashim said, Abdul Khalid produced a document which was not extracted from the original website.

"I reiterate that the burden of proof as to that particular fact lies on the plaintiff (Abdul Khalid) who wishes the court to believe in its existence. In this case, I am of the opinion that failure on the part of the plaintiff to produce the original document alleged to be the said article to be fatal to the plaintiff's case," he said.

Hashim, however, said the alleged picture was defamatory to Abdul Khalid as it tended to show that the plaintiff himself was an apostate, a strong supporter of Christianity against Islam and had no respect to the feelings of the Muslims in Malaysia.

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He said the alleged defamatory statement in the whole context of the said article, however, was not defamatory to the plaintiff.

"I find that the whole article is aimed at uniting the Muslims against the substitution of the term 'God' to the term 'Allah' in the Bible which had become a public issue at one point of a time. The title of the said article, which is "Umat Islam Perlu Bersatu", is general enough to denote the effort in uniting the Muslims with regard to this issue.

"The writer had also outlined the possible effects if the above is allowed and made reference to the plaintiff and PAS only with regards to the former's support to the above and the latter's silence in addressing this matter. Nowhere can be found in the said article anything to denote in its literal and ordinary meaning that the plaintiff is an apostate or anything which tends to lower the reputation of the plaintiff in the right thinking man of the society," he said.

Therefore, Hashim said, he found that should all the alleged pictures exist, the said article might be defamatory to the plaintiff but in the absence of the alleged picture, the statements contained therein might not be capable of being defamatory to the plaintiff, and thus the first element of defamation was not satisfied.

He said that in light of all the evidence presented before him, he found that Abdul Khalid had failed to discharge the burden of proving his case when he failed to tender the original document to be the said article defamatory to him.

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"I hereby dismiss the plaintiff's action with costs," he said.

Hashim, however, did not read out his judgment in court.

Abdul Khalid was represented by counsel Mohamed Hanipa Maidin and Azhana Mohd Khairudin while Datuk Hafarizam Harun and Nor Emelia Iszeham appeared for Hamidah.

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FAI KHY MGN