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Muhyiddin seeks RM10m from Umno's Puad over FB post deemed defamatory

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 16): Lawyers representing prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has today sent a letter of demand (LOD) to Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi over a Facebook post he made titled “Kuarantin pun ada dua darjat” (two classes of quarantine) which is deemed defamatory.

The LOD was issued by the firm Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership today to Puad's Putrajaya address.

In the letter sighted by theedgemarkets.com, the firm said the impugned post contained an untrue, unwarranted, unsubstantiated and mischievous statement on Muhyiddin.

The statements made by the Umno politician meant as if the premier refused to be quarantined on his official visit from Jakarta is the reason the Health Minister issued a new order via federal gazette that Cabinet ministers who return from overseas official visits are subject to three days of quarantine under the health directions of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease Act 1988, stated the letter.

It also meant that Muhyiddin had abused his power as the PM to obtain preferential treatment under the Act or under the movement control order, the letter further mentioned.

Such statements, the LOD states, seriously injure Muhyiddin's integrity, credit, goodwill and reputation and erode the confidence of the public in him.

“It further caused our client to be brought to public scandal, odium, contempt, and disrepute and significantly prejudiced him,” the letter added.

Muhyiddin had on Feb 9 issued a statement from the Prime Minister's Office to clarify that he was given an observation and home surveillance order and was fitted with a surveillance bracelet and was observing quarantine at home.

“The defamatory statements in your posting are completely untrue and were published falsely and maliciously by you [and they] constitute a grave libel upon our client,” the LOD said, adding that the posting was published in several news portals like the Malaysian Gazette and Sinar Harian.

For these reasons, the LOD gives Puad seven days to remove the posting, provide an unequivocal public apology on Facebook, news portals and social media, provide a written undertaking to cease and not repeat such publication of the same nature and pay compensation of RM10 million.

“The impugned posts which are untrue, defamatory and malicious also constitute an offence of criminal defamation under Section 500 of the Penal Code that brings a jail term that may extend to two years or with a fine or both,” it said.

It is understood that some Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia members had lodged police reports against Puad for the postings.

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