Crime & Courts

Kedah MB's appeal dismissed, appeals court increases damages to RM120,000 for defamation

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today ordered Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor to pay an increased sum of damages of RM120,000 to former Pokok Sena member of Parliament Datuk Wira Mahfuz Omar for defamation.

This was after a three-member bench comprising Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya and Datuk Wong Kian Kheong allowed Mahfuz's cross-appeal for the quantum of damages to be increased from RM50,000 to RM120,000.

Meanwhile, the bench dismissed Muhammad Sanusi's appeal to set aside the High Court's decision, made on Nov 8, 2021, which ordered him to pay damages to Mahfuz after allowing the latter's (Mahfuz) defamation lawsuit.

In the court's decision, Justice Vazeer said there was no error by the High Court judge in his findings on liability, but said that the quantum of damages awarded to Mahfuz by the High Court was low.

He also ordered Muhammad Sanusi to pay RM10,000 in legal costs.

Sanusi's lawyer, Yusfarizal Yussoff as well as Noorazmir Zakaria, representing Mahfuz, confirmed the Court of Appeal's decision when contacted by Bernama.

The decision was delivered by the court via an online proceeding today.

In Nov 2021, High Court Judicial Commissioner Datuk Mohd Arief Emran Arifin allowed Mahfuz's defamation suit and ordered Muhammad Sanusi to pay RM50,000 in damages to Mahfuz.

The Judicial Commissioner also gave an injunction order to restrain Muhammad Sanusi or his agents from further publishing defamatory words against Mahfuz.

Mahfuz filed the suit on Oct 9, 2029, over a post made by Muhammad Sanusi on his Facebook account on July 30 the same year, linking Mahfuz as the Pokok Sena Member of Parliament to the matter of the transfer of a Sports Toto outlet to the area.

Mahfuz also claimed that Muhammad Sanusi posted a 7min, 57sec video on his Facebook account on July 27, 2019, which showed a group of individuals protesting the opening of a Sports Toto outlet in Pokok Sena, while holding a banner bearing his (Mahfuz) name.

Meanwhile, Yusfarizal said he would discuss with his client whether to file leave to appeal to the Federal Court. – BERNAMA

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