Dr M loses bid for documents in defamation suit against Anwar

Court denies the former prime minister’s application for Anwar Ibrahim to produce Konsortium Perkapalan ‘bailout’ documents.

(FMT) – The High Court has denied Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s bid for discovery of documents in a defamation lawsuit taken out against Anwar Ibrahim.

Mahathir had wanted Anwar to produce documents on an alleged bailout of Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd (KPB) by Petronas and Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC) in 1997.

He had also sought documents relating to the award of contracts by Telekom Malaysia Bhd to Opcom Cables Sdn Bhd in 2003 and a fabrication licence by Petronas to Kencana Petroleum Bhd in 2002.

The former prime minister had also asked that Anwar, now the prime minister, produce reports relating to Perwaja Steel Bhd’s request for funds from the government in 1998, as well as documents relating to legal fees paid to two law firms – Lewis & Co and VK Lingam & Co.

Lawyer Rafique Rashid Ali, appearing for Mahathir, said judicial commissioner Zaharah Hussain dismissed the application on grounds the events cited by Anwar in his defence statement took place many years ago and were not recorded in any document.

“If there are any documents, they will be part of the defendant’s (Anwar) defence, and he would need to produce them during pre-trial case management later,” he said.

The court fixed Nov 3 for case management.

Mahathir is suing Anwar for statements made at a PKR congress on March 18 calling him a racist and saying he had enriched his family while in office.

In his lawsuit, he alleged that the statements were made by Anwar in his capacity as the prime minister and, as such, had a far more devastating effect on him compared with similar statements made by ordinary citizens.

He said the allegations eroded his status as a statesman and former prime minister.

He wants Anwar to retract all the alleged defamatory statements made against him and published both on mainstream and social media.

Mahathir said Anwar’s alleged defamatory statements were intended to dent his image among members of the public as they were viewed and heard by a wide spectrum of people.

He also wants Anwar to extend an unconditional apology and undertake not to repeat the same or similar statements in the future.