High Court awards NFCorp and chairman RM200,000 in legal suit against PKR’s Rafizi Ramli
The Kuala Lumpur High Court today ruled in favour for National Feedlot Corporation and its chairman Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail in their legal suit brought against PKR’s secretary-general Rafizi Ramli.
Judicial commissioner Azizul Azmi bin Adnan awarded Datuk Salleh RM150,000 and NFCorp RM50,000. He also awarded RM100,000 in collective costs to the plaintiffs and allowed for an injunction against Rafizi from further publishing.
In the suit, the plaintiffs had stated that the purchase of eight KL Eco City office properties by Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail and his son was a private purchase. Public Bank Berhad’s letter of offer had only stipulated that the security of the loan included the properties, deed of assignment and irrevocable power of attorney, and nothing more.
Rafizi had based his allegations on confidential banking information obtained from Public Bank Berhad without the consent from the plaintiffs. These documents were the bank’s internal confidential management documents for client collateral accounts in assessing the merits for loans by the bank’s senior management. In court testimony, Public Bank had confirmed that no loans had been taken for these properties.
The plaintiffs had pleaded that Rafizi’s statements were published at a time when there was heightened expectation of a general election. The fact that Datuk Dr Salleh was the husband of a ranking cabinet minister and the fact that the impugned statement made more mention of the cabinet minister, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (mentioned seven times) than it did either Plaintiff was clearly intended to garner maximum interest.
In his judgement, Judicial Commissioner Azizul Azmi said that the statements by Rafizi had, “the effect of lowering the estimation of the plaintiffs in the eyes of the public.”
“This is in my view defamatory of the plaintiffs as it suggested that public funds had been spent in the purchase of properties in the private names of the directors.”
In a statement to the media, NFCorp chairman said, “Alhamdulillah. We are thankful to Allah for His gracious blessings and strength in this matter.
“We are also thankful to Yang Ariff Judicial Commissioner Azizul Azmi bin Adnan for his learned wisdom, patience and understanding, having arrived at this decision. Finally, the truth prevails.
“Since late 2011, the Malaysian Government, National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd, its directors and my wife have had to endure a spate of unwarranted vicious attacks by the opposition and those out to take advantage against us. Today, the air is cleared.
“Our gratitude is also extended to the legal team, the public relations consultants and the management team for their untiring efforts in this matter all these years.”
Datuk Dr Salleh and NFCorp were represented by counsels Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Datuk M David Morais, Al Firdaus Shahrul Naing, Sara Ann Chay Sue May and Syed Ismat Syed Muhamad.