FORMER premier Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has denied publishing any defamatory statements against former finance minister Lim Guan Eng, according to his counsel Chetan Jethwani Advocates & Solicitors (Chetan Jethwani).
In a reply dated March 21 (yesterday) to a letter of demand by Guan Eng’s lawyer Guok Ngek Seong of Guok Partnership dated March 15, the Bersatu president claimed that the Bagan MP has “deliberately taken the alleged statements out of context with a view to ascribing a racial context to the statements where none exist”.
“When viewed substantively, it is clear from the record that our client’s initial statements were made in the context of defending himself in relation to the very public charges that were levelled against him which our client has described as unjustified and an act of political persecution,” argued Chetan Jethwani on behalf of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman.
“Our client’s subsequent statements were made in response to your client’s (Guan Eng) remarks with a view to properly identifying the substance of the issue.”
It added: “Finally, our client was compelled to respond to questions from the press as a result of your client’s action in voluntarily publicising and sensationalising your letter, immediately upon delivery of the same, without waiting to receive a response from our client”.
Muhyiddin’s response to Guan Eng’s letter of demand can be found on the Malaysia Today news portal.
For the record, the DAP national chairman had on March 15 served the Bersatu president with a letter of demand for alleged defamatory statements that appeared on the latter’s Facebook (FB) page on March 10 and 11 in addition to what was expressed during a media interview that took place at Menara PGRM (Gerakan’s headquarters) on March 12.
The content of the five-page long letter of demand was uploaded on Guan Eng’s FB page which at the time of writing has garnered 1,500 Likes, 185 comments and 86 shares.
Among others, Guan Eng has described the allegations made by Muhyiddin against him as “a very serious libel” in that they are politically-motivated with a malicious intention to tarnish the former’s image as “racist, anti-Malay, anti-Islam, and that he had committed various offences of power abuse while he was holding power as finance minister (2018-2020)”.
Ironically, Muhyiddin’s response to Guan’s Eng’s letter of demand came at more or less the same time as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim telling the Dewan Rakyat that Guan Eng had never waived the tax exemption of the Albukhary Foundation as alleged by Muhyiddin during his tenure as finance minister from May 2018 until February 2020.
In answering the question raised by DAP MP for Rasah Cha Kee Chin, Anwar who is also the Finance Minister further clarified that the power to cancel tax exemption does not lie under the PM nor finance minister but “under the prerogative of the Internal Revenue Board’s (IRB) director-general”.
On this note, Guan Eng called for a media conference outside the Dewan Rakyat where he wants the Pagoh MP “to retract his statement and apologise by today” as well as to stop trying “to jeopardise racial harmony with slander that could endanger the national security”.
Taking the matter a step further, Guan Eng will be lodging a police report at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters (IPD) this morning (March 22) with regard to the slander levelled at him in relation to the Albukhary Foundation. – March 22, 2023
Main pic credit: Malaysiakini