FORMER Penang deputy chief minister II Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy has initiated a crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise RM1.52 mil. This move comes after a civil court ruled in favour of Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik in a defamation suit against Ramasamy.
During a press conference earlier, Ramasamy announced his transparent approach regarding the funds collected. He assured that any surplus amount would be utilised for public welfare initiatives.
“I will continue to speak on behalf of the voiceless in Malaysia, whether Chinese, Indians, Malays, Iban (and so on). This is a temporary obstacle and I hope to do what is best for Malaysians,” said Ramasamy despite the ruling.
The former DAP Perai state assemblyman stated that his legal team would appeal the verdict at the Court of Appeal. He clarified that the five statements, deemed defamatory by the civil court were not directed personally at Dr Zakir but were made in defense of the Malaysian people.
The civil court’s ruling included RM1.45 mil awarded for damages and an additional RM70,000 allocated for legal costs.
Meanwhile, Judge Hayatul Akmal Abdul Aziz ruled in favour of Dr Zakir in the open-court proceedings stating that all three elements of defamation were proven in the five public statements made by Ramasamy.
The judge determined that Ramasamy failed to establish entitlement to the defences of justification and fair comment.
The awarded damages comprise RM1 mil for general damages, RM100,000 for compensatory damages, RM100,000 for aggravated damages and RM250,000 for exemplary damages. Judge Hayatul instructed the defendant to pay the damages, quantum and costs within 30 days along with issuing a public apology to Dr Zakir.
Furthermore, Ramasamy’s legal team informed the court about their intention to appeal to the Court of Appeal and stated their plan to request a temporary stay on the public apology. It remains uncertain whether they will also seek a stay application concerning the payment of damages pending the disposal of the appeal.
Earlier in 2019, Dr Zakir filed two separate suits against Ramasamy over the latter’s public statements: one linked to the preacher’s controversial ceramah in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, on Aug 8, 2019 and the other in relation to the 2019 mass arrests linked to alleged attempts to revive the defunct militant group Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE). – Nov 2, 2023
Main photo credit: Bernama