Khairy sues Lokman, preacher over vaccine posts

(FMT) – Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin has filed defamation suits against former Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam and preacher Mohd Rasyiq Mohd Alwi over online postings linked to Covid-19 vaccination programmes.

Khairy filed two separate suits in the High Court through Messrs Rashid Zulkifli last week naming Lokman and Rasyiq, better known as Ustaz Abu Syafiq, as the defendants.

He is suing the two men over a series of online postings made between Oct 20 last year and Jan 10 this year.

In his statement of claim, Khairy said he filed the suit in his personal capacity against Lokman for defaming him through two videos, uploading a photograph in his Facebook page on Jan 6 and making two “live” statements via Facebook and YouTube on Jan 10.

Meanwhile, he claimed that Rasyiq defamed him by making four statements and publishing three videos and a picture via his Instagram account between Oct 20 and Jan 10.

He is seeking an unspecified amount of damages and want the defendants to remove the alleged defamatory postings

He wants the two to publish a retraction and public apology on their YouTube pages and other social media accounts identified by him.

Khairy, who is also the Covid-19 immunisation task force chairman, said the defendants committed defamation through the online postings which contained several allegations linked to the government’s Covid-19 vaccination efforts in Malaysia.

Among them are that he acted recklessly and irresponsibly in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines for the vaccination programmes, as well as claims linked to his Covid-19 vaccination status.

He said that the online postings by the defendants were against public interest as they undermined Putrajaya’s efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

He contended that he “has acted to take into account the safety and well-being of the Malaysian public with regard to the implementation of the Covid-19 vaccination programmes”.

“The nature of the defendants’ defamatory publications is clearly designed to undermine the efforts by the plaintiff, the efforts of everyone in the health ministry and the government in the existing battle against Covid-19.

“The publications have harmed society’s response to Covid-19, undermining the official data and facts provided by the health ministry to the public,” he said.

Khairy said the alleged defamatory statements seriously injured his credibility and goodwill and caused him distress.

He said it had also eroded the trust and confidence of the public in his personal and professional capacity.

It also caused him to be brought into public scandal, odium and contempt.

Case management has been fixed on Feb 28.