Umno’s Puad Zarkashi says deleted Facebook post as ordered but will ask court to cancel injunction in Muhyiddin’s defamation suit

(MMO) – Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi today confirmed that he has deleted his February 9 Facebook post on Thursday after ordered by the court to do so in a temporary injunction, but also said he would be seeking to have the injunction set aside.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page this morning, Puad said he had complied with the ex-parte interim injunction obtained by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin against him as part of a defamation lawsuit.

“I have complied with the court order and deleted that post on 04.03.2021,” he said in the brief statement.

“I also confirm that I have instructed my lawyer to file an application to set aside the ex-parte injunction order immediately. I will also demand compensation from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin,” he added.

Puad concluded by saying that he has confidence in the country’s judicial system and that he will defend himself before the courts.

On March 1, the High Court granted Muhyiddin’s ex-parte application for an interim injunction or temporary injunction to stop Puad from publishing or sharing the alleged defamatory Facebook post or other similar contents for now, with the order in effect until the March 12 inter-parte hearing or hearing involving both sides on the interim injunction.

In the same interim injunction order, the High Court said it is “contempt of court” for anyone to breach or cause the breaching of the injunction despite knowing of such an injunction.

Muhyiddin’s lawyers on March 2 wrote to Puad’s lawyers and on March 3 wrote directly to Puad to notify them of the interim injunction order, and said the court order requires Puad to immediately remove the February 9 Facebook post and also highlighted that failure to comply could result in consequences such as contempt of court proceedings.

It is understood that Puad’s lawyers had on March 4 initially asked the High Court for a date to be fixed for them to seek clarification from the judge on the nature of the interim injunction granted through the ex-parte application,

But the High Court is understood to have replied by saying that there would be no clarification date and that any matter can be dealt with at the inter-parte hearing on March 12, and had asked for compliance with the order to remove the February 9 Facebook posting in the meantime.

While the Facebook post has been removed, Muhyiddin’s lawyers on March 5 sent a letter to Puad’s lawyers, noting that Puad had not immediately taken down the February 9 Facebook post but had continued to publish it by letting it remain on the Facebook page, despite being aware of the injunction. Muhyiddin’s lawyers also argued that the injunction was clearly worded.

Muhyiddin’s lawyers in the March 5 letter said the right and cautious approach would be for Puad to first take down the Facebook post before seeking clarification or seeking to set aside the injunction if Puad found the order to be unclear.

Muhyiddin’s lawyers also said in the same March 5 letter that Puad’s actions were a clear breach of the injunction, and that they would initiate contempt of court proceedings against Puad if he does not make a written apology to the High Court within 24 hours.

On March 1, Muhyiddin filed a defamation lawsuit against Puad over the latter’s February 9 posting titled “Kuarantin Pun Ada Dua Darjat” on his Facebook page “DrPuad Zarkashi”, with Muhyiddin’s lawyers saying that the Facebook post and its contents are untrue and baseless.

While Muhyiddin is the prime minister of Malaysia, his lawyers made it clear in the court papers that he had filed the defamation lawsuit in his “personal capacity as a private citizen”.

In the defamation lawsuit against Puad, Muhyiddin is seeking compensation in the form of general damages, exemplary damages, and aggravated damages with the amount to be assessed and determined by the court.

Muhyiddin is also seeking an injunction to restrain Puad or his associates or representatives from publishing, posting, sharing the February 9 Facebook post or continuing to do so, as well as an injunction to stop such actions in relation to statements similar or related to the Facebook post.

The prime minister is also seeking a court order for Puad to immediately, prominently and permanently publish an unequivocal public apology on Puad’s Facebook page “DrPuad Zarkashi” in terms to be dictated by Muhyiddin, as well as a court order for Puad to cause all the news portal and social media — that will be identified by Muhyiddin — that had published the alleged defamatory remarks in his Facebook post to also immediately and prominently publish an apology.