Defamation case between PMX and PAS MP set for full trial in 2026

PRIME Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s defamation lawsuit against PAS MP Datuk Awang Solahuddin Hashim has been set for a full trial for six days in 2026.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has fixed the trial dates for July 13–20 and July 26 of that year.

The civil court judge presiding over the case will be Datuk Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh, as confirmed by the Pakatan Harapan chairperson’s counsel Sankara Nair.

“During case management today, the court also directed parties to complete pretrial documents by Nov 30 this year. The court also set the civil action for further case management on Nov 30,” Malaysiakini quoted the lawyer as saying.

In his defamation action filed on March 3, Anwar took legal action against the Pendang MP based on two allegations.

Firstly, it was claimed that the PKR president allegedly abused his powers by interfering with enforcement and prosecution agencies. Secondly, the issue of the plaintiff’s appointment as the 10th PM.

In his statement of defence, Awang cited the time difference between former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar’s administrations in relation to their respective dragnets against political rivals.

The former human resources minister defended his stance by emphasising that he referred to the time factor in drawing the conclusion that Anwar was “more vindictive” than his predecessor.

He also pointed out that when Dr Mahathir assumed office as PM in 1981, his first action was to release 21 detainees who were held under the now defunct Internal Security Act (ISA).

Moreover, Awang added that the infamous Operasi Lalang crackdown under the same security law during Dr Mahathir’s tenure, which the former premier has denied orchestrating happened six years after he took office.

On the other hand, Awang asserted that Anwar’s political rivals were brought to court within just three months after the latter assumed office as PM on Nov 24, 2022. 

In response, Anwar strongly objected to Awang’s attempt to draw a comparison between the current PM and Dr Mahathir regarding alleged vindictiveness in dealing with dissidents. He described such a comparison as “totally absurd”. 

The Tambun MP reaffirmed that all investigation agencies and prosecutorial services operate independently, impartially and without any bias or influence. – Aug 2, 2023

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