Dr M’s libel trial over Zahid’s ‘Kutty’ remark begins July 19

High Court is told the former prime minister has been warded at the National Heart Institute and is unfit to attend hearing.

(FMT) – The much anticipated trial in a libel suit brought by Dr Mahathir Mohamad over Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s alleged derogatory use of the name “Kutty” to reference the former prime minister has been postponed.

Mahathir’s lawyer, Mior Nor Haidir Suhaimi, informed judicial commissioner Gan Techiong today that Mahathir has been admitted to the National Heart Institute (IJN).

He also said IJN had issued a letter to the court confirming that his client was unfit to attend the proceedings.

“He is on MC until this Saturday. We apply that fresh trial dates be fixed,” said Mior, who is appearing with lawyer Rafique Rashid Ali.

Mahathir, 98, was warded on Jan 26.
Last month, Gan fixed four days from today to complete the trial.

Today, he said he hopes to be able to fix early trial dates due to Mahathir’s advanced age.

Zahid’s lawyer, Shahrul Fuzli, suggested that the trial begin in October, but Gan asked for earlier dates to be fixed.

“We can vacate other cases to accommodate this trial. Most probably, Mahathir is one of the oldest plaintiffs in this court,” said Gan.

He then fixed July 19 for Mahathir to take the witness stand. The court also fixed Aug 26 and 27 and Oct 29 and 30 to continue the hearing.

Mior said Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz, will also testify in the case.

Shahrul said Zahid and another witness, whose identity was not revealed in court, will appear for the defendant.

In his statement of claim, Mahathir alleged that Zahid defamed him during an Umno divisional meeting in Kelana Jaya on July 30, 2017.

He claims the statement was meant to imply that he was not born a Malay or a Muslim and that his original name was Mahathir son of Iskandar Kutty.

In his defence, Zahid said “Mahathir son of Iskandar Kutty” referred to an individual based on information from an old copy of an identity card.