Bangsar, 4 May: I say good luck to the PM's press secretary Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad, a former colleague of mine at the New Straits Times in the 80s. He is being sued for defamation by Mukhriz, the son of Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Dr M and two other individuals had just last month filed a lawsuit against PM Najib Razak, Sarifuddin's boss.
I was also sued for defamation in 2006 by the very powerful friends and media advisors of the PM then, so I can appreciate how taxing it's going to for Sarifuddin.
I can see the irony, too. Back then, it was the PM's men who were trying to suppress dissent and intimidate the critics by suing them left and right.
This time around, the so-called critics of the PM are the ones filing legal suits against the Prime Minister himself and now his men.
How times have changed.
So if you are a supporter of Najib Razak, tread with care. You could be next to be served a letter of demand.
Tengku Sharifuddin's response to Mukhriz's lawsuit:
MUKHRIZ MAHATHIR LEGAL ACTION: PRIME MINISTER’S PRESS SECRETARY STATEMENT
4 May 2016
1. It is ironic that Dato' Seri Mukhriz Mahathir has chosen to sue me. It is his father Tun Mahathir Mohamed who always claims that the law is being used to silence critics of Prime Minister Najib Razak. 2. Unlike Tun Mahathir, I haven't made any wild allegations. My opinions are fair comment based on actions by Tun Mahathir, Dato' Seri Mukhriz and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who led the failed campaign to unseat the Prime Minister.3. They were interested parties, and I believe motivated by ambition and desire for power. Many think that Tun Mahathir wanted Tan Sri Muhyiddin to be his proxy Prime Minister, with Dato' Seri Mukhriz as Deputy Prime Minister until he was ready to take over. 4. Their legal action shows that I have hit a nerve. It is understandable that Dato' Seri Mukhriz is emotionally distressed that for once his father has failed to get his way.5. Tun Mahathir knows that there is a much faster way than the courts to stop all the speculation about his motivation for trying to replace the Prime Minister. All he needs to do is state who he wants instead as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. 6. His consistent failure to answer this one simple question betrays the truth: the objective of Tun Mahathir's Anti Najib Campaign is to pave the way for his son.7. Looking at my comments in the context of the entire episode, I'm confident it will be clear that what I said is fair and represents my reading of the actions of Dato' Seri Mukhriz and his father without any malice. 8. So I'm not disturbed by this legal action. I look forward to seeing Dato' Seri Mukhriz and discussing this further in court.
DATUK SERI TENGKU SARIFFUDDINPRESS SECRETARY TO THE PRIME MINISTER