In Selangor, legitimate questions become defamation

Lawyer’s letters become weapons of censorship


Yesterday, Greens Party provisional secretary Abdul Razak Ismail received a very surprising letter of demand from Selva Mookiah & Associates, a lawyer purporting to represent the Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB). In the letter Selva Mookiah & Associates alleged Razak defamed the client and demanded an unspecified amount in damages from Razak, to ward off legal action (see letter below).

This is unusual, because in the instances claimed as defamation, the passages mostly referred to the actions of the Selangor State Government, MBI, and the Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari. All the instances of alleged defamation mentioned Selva Mookiah & Associates relate to legitimate questions asked by Razak pertaining to the Shah Alam Stadium refurbishment tender, which turned out to be a full commercial development.

The questions Razak has been asking were, as agreed by Selva Mookiah & Associates:

1. How did a tender for refurbishing the Shah Alam Stadium become a full development project of a sports and commercial precinct?

2. How was the developer of this project actually selected?

3. What is the precise agreement to the developer, in terms of consideration?

4. Why didn’t the Selangor State Government follow the recommendations of the JKR?

In addition, Razak called on prime minister Anwar Ibrahim to intervene in the project. How is this defaming MRCB, as Selva Mookiah & Associates are claiming?

Selva Mookiah & Associates are claiming the phrase “in allegations of abuse of power, conflict of interest, good governance, and lack of transparency” defamed MRCB. However, these words referred to the Selangor State Government.

The claims MRCB has mad are inferred to refer to MRCB, by their imagination. Razak has been querying actions taken by the state government. The question here has MRCB become and agent for the state government in their claims against Razak? Is this some sort of political favour to eliminate public criticism?