LAST_UPDATEFri, 20 Jul 2018 6pm

Tony Pua Allowed To Appeal Against Injunction Obtained By Najib On Video Clip

Tony Pua Kiam Wee.Tony Pua Kiam Wee.

PUTRAJAYA — Damansara Member of Parliament Tony Pua Kiam Wee today obtained leave to appeal against an interim injunction order granted to former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over a video clip uploaded on his (Pua’s) Facebook site.

Federal Court three-man panel comprising Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop and Federal Court judges Datuk Seri Balia Yusof Wahi and Datuk David Wong Dak Wah allowed Pua's application for leave to appeal.

“I  think this case involves questions of importance which further arguments and decision of this court would be of public interest," said Ahmad, who chaired the panel.

The Federal Court would determine four legal questions in the appeal at a later date which included a question on whether the court could be allowed to conclude by way of judicial notice that no wrongdoing was committed  by treating the Attorney-General's decision not to commence prosecution, and his explanation for such decision, as exonerating the impugned conduct .

Another question was on the validity of the interim injunction and whether an application for an interim injunction in a defamation proceeding laid down in The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd vs Airasia Bhd is good law given the freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 (1) (a) of the Federal Constitution.

On Feb 14, this year, the Court of Appeal rejected Pua’s appeal to lift an interim injunction obtained by Najib to restrain him from publishing the alleged defamatory video clip relating to the tabling of a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or RUU355.

In a written judgment, Court of Appeal judge Datuk Yaacob Md Sam said the court ought to take judicial notice of the fact that the then Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali had made a decision that Najib had done nothing wrong in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue.

The judge said investigations were also carried out by MACC, Royal Malaysia Police, Bank Negara and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), the result of which had been disclosed to the public by the AGC that Najib had done no wrong in relation to the 1MDB allegation.

Najib sued Pua in his personal capacity, alleging that the latter had made defamatory statements against him on live video relating to the tabling of RUU355.

The former prime minister claimed the video clip uploaded by Pua or his agents on his official Facebook site, lasting two minutes and 21 seconds and entitled ‘BN Govt abandons all Bills to give precedence to PAS RUU355 Private Member’s Bill’ could be accessed widely and freely on the Internet.

On Augt 4 last year,  a High Court granted Najib the interim injunction to prevent Pua, who is now a special officer to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng,  from continuing to make statements and air the video clip.

In today's proceedings, Pua’s counsel, Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, told the court that the impact of the appellate court's decision warranted the Federal Court's intervention.

He said the fact that the former Attorney-General decided not to prosecute Najib was not itself an exoneration, but was merely a decision not to prosecute.

Najib's lawyer, Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, objected to Pua's application for leave to appeal, saying that it was an interlocutory matter which leave ought not to be given.

He said Pua would still have his day in the court to question the speaker's power in the trial.