Saturday June 16, 2012
Jais director: Political parties not involved in church raid
SHAH ALAM: PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali has never denied making a statement implying that Umno had a role in last year’s controversial raid on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church, the High Court heard.
Lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun submitted before JC Ahmad Zaki Husin that Mustafa’s statement, published in Harakah, was defamatory because it insinuated that Umno interfered with the state administration.
“The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) director testified that political parties were not involved in the raid,” he said during submissions yesterday.
Mohd Hafarizam was representing Selangor Umno secretary Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed, who filed a RM10mil defamation suit against Mustafa and three others.
The suit, filed on Sept 14 last year, named Mustafa, Harakah’s publisher Angkatan Edaran Ent Sdn Bhd, its editor Ahmad Lutfi Othman and reporter Khairul Azlam Mohamad as defendants.
In his statement of claim, Mohd Zin said Mustafa, in an article published in Harakah between Aug 19 and 21 last year had allegedly defamed Umno by accusing the party of playing a role in the raid.
The raid on Aug 3 sparked controversy when Jais claimed that there were attempts to proselytise Muslims who attended a thanksgiving dinner at the church in Petaling Jaya.
“I submit that the defendant failed to prove the statement made is defensible under qualified privilege. Harakah is not a newspaper, it’s a newsletter for PAS members. Qualified privilege only applies for newspapers,” Mohd Hafarizam added.
Lawyer Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, who represented Mustafa, brought up the issue of locus standi and submitted that his client has denied the article referred to Selangor Umno.
“If you see the article, there was nowhere in it that said ‘Selangor Umno’.The plaintiff not only have to prove the defamation, it also has to prove the sentence was a defamation of the plaintiff,” he said.
The case is fixed for decision on July 20.