Ambiga: How is being mentioned in lawsuit defence a crime?
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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 — Lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan today questioned how the mention of her name in someone else’s defence for a lawsuit was considered to be a crime in Malaysia.
Ambiga was commenting on reports that police are investigating her under both Section 505(b) of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Act 1998 for the alleged offences of making a statement conducting public mischief and improper use of network facilities, following a police report filed by Umno’s Zulkarnain Mahdar.
“Legal views have already been expressed as to the inappropriateness of the police action.
“It is difficult to understand how a defence which mentions me, and is taken by a defendant to resist a defamation action filed voluntarily by a Malaysian politician in a London court, (and thus protected by absolute privilege), can constitute a criminal offence in Malaysia,” she said in a statement today.
She was referring to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s defamation suit against whistleblower website Sarawak Report’s UK-based editor Clare Rewcastle Brown.
Ambiga also claimed that those linked to Abdul Hadi are trying to harass and intimidate her, noting that such actions against a potential witness could be considered contempt of court.
“I only wish to add that in my view this investigation follows a concerted effort by parties linked with the Claimant in the civil action in the UK, to harass and intimidate me in connection with the defence filed by the defendant.
“There is also a lack of appreciation that harassing and intimidating a potential witness is viewed very seriously in any court and would be tantamount to contempt,” the National Human Rights Society president added.
Earlier today, PKR MP N. Surendran urged Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun to explain the legal basis for initiating a criminal investigation against Ambiga, noting that a fundamental legal principle was that no one can be accused of a criminal offence for either an act or omission by another party.
Surendran who is also a lawyer further pointed out that Ambiga’s “so-called offence” originated from court documents filed by Rewcastle-Brown.
He said that if Abdul Hadi has issue with the Ambiga’s purported remarks as stated in Rewcastle-Brown’s court documents, the PAS man is able to remedy it in his ongoing civil lawsuit in the UK courts.