Senior lawyer demands apology from Prof Mazlan, UTM, Sinar Harian over “slanderous” article

SENIOR lawyer Rosli Dahlan has slammed news portal Sinar Harian for carrying the views of a political analyst whom he said had destroyed his reputation as a person of principle and integrity.

The lawyer said the article, entitled “PN Perlukan Panglima Perang Baru” (PN Needs A New Warlord) published on the portal on Tuesday (Oct 10) carried quotes from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) political analyst Ass Prof Dr Mazlan Ali that are “false, slanderous and defamatory”.

Rosli was referring to the third paragraph of the article where Prof Mazlan had stated that “Muhyiddin is now facing many integrity-related issues … the latest issue involves the arrest of his lawyer by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) related to the loss of US$1.5 bil equivalent to RM7 bil from the United States (US) sent to the government.”

He said it is evident that the statement is directed at him due to the MACC’s recent visit to the offices of Rosli Dahlan Saravana (RDS) with a search warrant which he argued was contrary to Section 46 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 protects the sanctity of privileged information.

“Prof Mazlan’s statement is false, slanderous and defamatory. I have never been arrested by the MACC. No RM7 bil or any 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds are missing. All 1MDB asset recovery funds were paid directly to the Finance Ministry and not a single sen was paid to RDS,” the lawyer said in a statement today (Oct 12).

“Hence, it is impossible for such an incident to occur. Prof Mazlan can seek confirmation of this directly with the Finance Ministry as his statement had been made recklessly without any verification.”

Recall that last Friday (Oct 6), MACC had raided the offices of RDS and had, according to Rosli, demanded investigative powers to access its entire office.

A source familiar with the probe told NST on Oct 6 that it was not a raid but a “follow-up visit” for an on-going investigation.

Reports also stated that Rosli, a partner at RDS, serves as the lead counsel for Bersatu and Muhyiddin.

It was also reported that Rosli is lead counsel in a defamation suit brought by Muhyiddin against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over the prime minister’s remarks about the handling of Felda’s waiver of debts owed by land settlers.

On the same day, MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki was reported as saying that a lawyer, believed to have been involved in money laundering during the recovery efforts of the 1MDB assets by the government, is being investigated.

Investigations were ongoing on the corruption case under the MACC Act 2009 and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001.

“Repent, apologise”

According to Rosli, Prof Mazlan’s statement violated Sections 499 and 500 of the Penal Code which concern criminal defamation.

“It is an abuse of his position as an Associate Professor at UTM to make false, slanderous and defamatory statements which makes UTM equally liable for his wrongdoing. Sinar Harian is also liable for publishing the defamatory article,” he continued.

Rosli also claimed that the defamatory statement tarnished his reputation as a Muslim lawyer active in charitable, welfare, and dakwah work, and destroyed his reputation as a person of principle and integrity.

“Therefore, I urge Prof Mazlan, UTM and Sinar Harian to immediately repent, apologise to me, and promptly delete the article and such similar articles,” he added.

“If this is the quality of local professors who dabble in fake news instead of researched facts, they deserve to be called Quack Professors and it is no wonder that the standard of local education is declining.” – Oct 12, 2023

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