Fri, 22 Sep 2023


My remarks on Sanusi justified, says Saifuddin in defence to defamation suit
Published on: Tuesday, September 19, 2023
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My remarks on Sanusi justified, says Saifuddin in defence to defamation suit
Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (left) is being sued by Sanusi Nor for his statements on July 14 and 15, which the Kedah menteri besar says had tarnished his reputation as a political leader.
PETALING JAYA: Home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has defended his remarks about Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Nor with regard to the alleged theft of rare earth elements (REE) and misuse of federal funds earmarked for road maintenance projects, saying they were justified.

In a defence statement filed in the Alor Setar High Court last week, Saifuddin also said he made the comments over the two issues on July 14 and 15 as a matter of public interest.

Last month, Sanusi filed a lawsuit claiming the remarks had defamed him. He said the statements had tarnished his reputation as a political leader.

He also claimed he had suffered emotional stress as the allegations were “baseless”.

As regards remarks on the alleged misappropriation of federal funds, Saifuddin said the transfer of the Malaysian Road Records Information System (Marris) funds to Kedah’s development fund was “improper and irregular from a legal and financial governance perspective”.

He said Marris funds were meant to be used for maintenance of state roads.

“State governments should prioritise proper financial governance to enhance the economy and serve the best interests of the public.

“This includes prudent fiscal responsibility to ensure public-related funds, such as the Marris funds, are used in accordance with financial regulations and its intended purpose,” he said.

Addressing his July 15 remarks over the alleged REE theft, Saifuddin said the state government’s agency, Kedah MBI, had been slapped with a RM500,000 compound notice under the National Land Code in October last year.

“The defendant (Saifuddin) wanted the plaintiff to clarify if he (Sanusi) received a letter from the state director of lands and mines in respect of an incident of theft concerning REE at Kampung Chong, Sik,” he said.

Saifuddin contended that there were governance-related issues and concerns regarding administrative malpractices within the management of Kedah’s natural resources, and in particular the REE.

He also said Sanusi had not suffered any loss as a result of the statements and is, therefore, not entitled to damages.

“This is evident from his success in retaining the Jeneri state seat in the (Aug 12 Kedah) election with a majority of more than 16,000 votes, as well as being sworn in again as the menteri besar and retaining his chairmanship of Kedah MBI,” he added.

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