KUALA LUMPUR: The senior researcher K. Lalitha of Centre for Combating Cronyism and Corruption (C4) claimed that the information shared in her articles and tweets concerning the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki were extracted from confirmed sources.
She made the claim in her statement of defence as the defendant in the defamation lawsuit filed by Azam against her.
The statement of defence was filed through Messrs Ibrahim & Fuaadah yesterday and was made available to the press today.
“The defendant has reported the articles based on what she had extracted from confirmed sources and summed the information accurately, fairly, and in a neutral way.
“The defendant pleads that it is essential in the public interest for the public (of which its readers are comprised) to receive frank and uninhibited communication of particular information,” the statement said.
Azam, 59, filed a lawsuit against Lalitha on January 12 for allegedly publishing defamatory articles against him in the Independent News Service (INS) news agency portal related to the allegations of him purchasing stock markets shares in 2015,
Azam’s statement of claim stated that the defendant had written two articles titled “Business Ties Among MACC Leadership: How Deep Does It Go? (Part 1)” and “Business Ties Among MACC Leadership: How Deep Does It Go? (Part Two)” that she published in INS on October 26 and republished on December 15 last year.
He claimed that the defendant had shared links to the articles on her Twitter account @LalithaVelvet that were still accessible to this day.
Azam claimed, the articles were sensational, scandalous, and offensive and were written and republished with malicious intent to give a bad perception to the readers that the plaintiff was a corrupt civil servant or one who has abused his position as a senior MACC official for his or his sibling’s interests.
He claimed that the defamatory publication had tarnished his name and reputation and therefore, he sought an order to prevent Lalitha or her agents from making, publishing, or causing the defamatory statement to be republished besides requesting the defendant to delete the articles and tweets within three days of judgment and to issue an apology to be published in newspapers and social media platforms of his choice.
He is also seeking RM10 million in general damages, aggravated damages, interests, costs and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.