The Court of Appeal has rejected an appeal in a defamation case filed by former Attorney-General Apandi Ali against Lim Kit Siang regarding an article published by the veteran DAP member in 2019 related to the 1MDB scandal.
Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail, leading a three-judge panel, stated that the High Court’s decision to dismiss Apandi’s lawsuit on May 23 last year was not erroneous in terms of law or fact.
Hadhariah noted that Lim successfully employed the defenses of justification and fair comment to fend off the lawsuit. Justices M Gunalan and Azmi Ariffin joined her on the bench. Additionally, the court ordered Apandi to pay Lim RM100,000 in legal costs.
Apandi, who was the Attorney-General at the time was also criticized for not using his authority to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of those responsible. Instead, Apandi appeared to hinder and obstruct the 1MDB scandal investigation, and his actions and inaction fell short of public expectations. Hadhariah stated that Apandi was the architect of his own misfortune.
The judge further noted that Apandi had failed to present any evidence supporting his claim that he did not “aid and abet” Najib in the scandal. The court accepted the lesser meaning attributed by Lim to the term “aided and abetted,” which was that Apandi used his office to conceal the scandal, making the term non-defamatory.
Counsel Sangeet Kaur Deo pointed out that Lim had successfully established his primary defenses of justification and qualified privilege, and she argued that Apandi’s grounds for appeal lacked merit.