Najib’s lawyers to advise PM to battle WSJ in Malaysian courts instead of US


(MMO) – Lawyers for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak disclosed today that they will advise their client to mount his defamation lawsuit against Wall Street Journal (WSJ) here instead of in the US where the daily is based.

They explained that this was because Najib’s reputation is greater in Malaysia.

“We are inclined to advise him to file it in Malaysia,” Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun told reporters when met at the Duta Court Complex here this morning.

The lawyer said the prime minister intends to sue WSJ for its allegedly defamatory words in its online report linking him to the controversies surrounding state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) instead of its print version.

Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, another member of Najib’s legal team, said that a plaintiff always has the choice of where he wants to file his lawsuit.

“If a politician is from Malaysia, why should he have to go and sue in a foreign jurisdiction?

“I think one’s reputation is where one lives, rather than suing in a place where one doesn’t really live or have that great of a reputation as where one lives,” he told reporters.

“It’s all governed by conflict of law ruled under private international law, defamation is you sue where your reputation is the greatest, where it’s affected the most, you don’t sue in a country where it’s not affected as much,” Firoz Hussein added.

The lawyers were asked why Najib had not opted to file the defamation suit against WSJ publisher Dow Jones & Co in the US, where there would be no concern of the firm invoking a legal immunity against the enforcement of decisions by courts outside the US.

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