Sunday, July 30, 2023

Defamation suit over Stadium project: Party Hijau’s Razak Ismail has no cause to whine, unless …

Amirudin is trying to silence (me) with the lawsuits - Razak Ismail, Green Party sec-gen 

Damansara, 30 July: I don’t quite understand why Razak Ismail, the sacked PKR leader who is now Green Party secretary general, is whining about being sued by MRCB for the things he had accused the conglomerate of. If his claims can be backed by facts, he should see it as a great opportunity to promote his integrity. The court is where Razak will prove to all and sundry that he speaks the truth and nothing but the truth, that he didn’t make up any of it. Berani kerana benar. 

So now, the whining, could  it be that Razak knows he won’t be able to back up his allegations and will lose to MRCB in court?

If that is so, you asked for it! Kerana mulut badan binasa. But even if that is the case, Razak, it is an opportunity: you can instruct your lawyers to approach MRCB, the party that is suing you to protect its own integrity, and negotiate some kind of agreement that is acceptable to both sides. Usually, that would be you making a public apology to MRCB for defaming them and you giving an undertaking not to repeat your defamatory remarks.. (You may have to pay some legal costs but usually the amount won’t be as crippling as the damages you would have to pay when you lose the case().

Either way, here’s what we all need to constantly remember: we are accountable for what we say, whether it is in the real world or in cyberspace. The law is blind in this country where even former prime ministers know they can be hauled up to court for alleged indiscretions. Even the sitting PM Anwar Ibrahim is going to court to answer allegations he made against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Heck, the mighty Royalty of this country too are no longer spared; the only difference is, perhaps,  their court is called  “special”. In short, nobody is above the law.

The social media, my friends, is not a place where you can slander, defame and get away without having to account for whatever you Facebook, tweet or tiktok. I speak from experience. I was sued by a conglomerate in 2006, a case that lasted 5 years against  plaintiffs who were powerful individuals close to the government of the day. Did I whine?

And remember this, too: Nobody can silence you with a letter of demand. Unless what you have written or said was utter rubbish in the first place. 

Amirudin to Razak: We have lawyers and you have your lawyer, so let’s settle it (in court) 

SHAH ALAM – The right to criticise should not be abused by issuing slanderous statements. 

Selangor caretaker Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said while criticism helps keep administrators on their toes, slander and spreading misinformation is a different story.

“If we (the state administration) don’t initiate legal action against false claims, then the public will assume that we are in the wrong (since) we are keeping quiet,” Amirudin told a town hall session organised by Sinar Harian at the Karangkraf Media Complex here last night.

“It’s fine if you want to criticise us, but don’t make false accusations.”

The Gombak MP was responding to heated inquiries from Green Party pro-tem secretary-general Abdul Razak Ismail.

Razak accused Amirudin of misusing government linked corporations (GLCs) to “silence” critics by filing suits.

Razak, who was sacked from PKR in January, pointed out he and four media sites were being sued by Menteri Besar Selangor Inc (MBI), the state government’s major investment vehicle.

The suit was initiated after Razak issued several statements questioning terms of a deal regarding the Shah Alam Stadium redevelopment project, alleging that the project was awarded without an open tender. In response, Amirudin highlighted how he has consistently maintained that the state government undertook the necessary governance procedures prior to the project’s implementation.

“This was a process that goes back to 2008. The proper process has been followed. Tenders were called and tens of companies put in their bids,” he told the audience of 500 which included viewers following the dialogue on Facebook.

“GLCs have their dignity and credibility at stake (when accused of wrongdoing).

“Your (Razak’s) claims (against MBI) were false allegations, so they have to take action to protect their interests.”

Amirudin added that Razak had defamed him before but the former decided not to pursue legal action.

“I don’t simply sue for anything that is trivial. Last time you accused me of misappropriating football club money. I thought the allegations were frivolous so I didn’t take legal action,” he said.

“But these claims (on the stadium project) are not criticism but false allegations so the GLC has to take action as they need to protect their interests.”

Amirudin said far from silencing critics, the courts are the best place to get to the truth.

“We have lawyers and you have your lawyer, so let’s go and settle it there.”

In July last year, MBI handed over a non-binding letter of intent to engineering and construction firm Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) to conduct and deliver a proposal on how to redevelop the stadium.

Amirudin had previously said that the cost of repairing and renovating the current outdoor stadium, which is home to Selangor FC, as well as the indoor Malawati Stadium next door, is in the range of RM787 million.

So, the state government needed to decide if it was more prudent to build an entire new facility with supporting features such as a people’s park and areas for small businesses; or simply refurbish the current 30-year-old arena.

Amirudin had also revealed then that MRCB was invited to put in its proposal out of 15 other companies due to its strong financials and track record, having redeveloped the Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex in 2017.

 A public display to gain feedback was also held with the final decision on the scope of the project and cost yet to be decided by the state government. – July 25, 2023

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