Malaysia: Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin sues Adam Lokman and Islamic preacher Ustaz Abu Syafiq over vax-linked online posts



Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid

Published:  Feb 3, 2022
11:00 AM⋅Updated: 11:01 AM11

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has brought defamation suits against former Umno supreme council member Lokman Noor Adam and an Islamic preacher over online postings linked to Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccination programmes.

The former Umno Youth chief filed the writ of summons against fellow party member Lokman (above) as well as Mohd Rasyiq Mohd Alwi, also known as Ustaz Abu Syafiq, at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Jan 25.

According to the suit’s statement of claim sighted by Malaysiakini, Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) chairperson Khairy is suing the two men over a series of online uploads between Oct 20 last year, and Jan 10 this year.

The cause papers were referring to four videos and a photo allegedly uploaded to Lokman’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, as well as four postings, three videos and a photo purportedly uploaded to Rasyiq’s Instagram page.

Rembau MP Khairy claimed that the two defendants committed defamation through the online postings which contained several allegations linked to the government’s Covid-19 vaccination efforts in Malaysia.

Among these allegations are that the plaintiff purportedly acted recklessly and/or irresponsibly in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines for the vaccination programmes in Malaysia, as well as claims linked to his Covid-19 vaccination status.

Khairy claimed that the online postings by Lokman and Rasyiq are contrary to the public interest as they purportedly undermined the government’s efforts to combat the Covid-19 endemic in the country.

“The defamatory publications have harmed societal response to Covid-19, and the defamatory publications have undermined the official data and facts provided by the Health Ministry to the public,” claimed Khairy, who is the coordinating minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP).

The plaintiff added that the lawsuits were filed by his lawyers from law firm Rashid Zulkifli, following the two defendants allegedly refused to abide by his letter of demand issued on Jan 16 this year.

According to Khairy, the legal letters had sought for the two defendants to remove all the alleged defamatory postings and to agree to an undertaking not to repeat similar allegations.

Through the writ of summons, Khairy is seeking general, exemplary and aggravated damages, as well as several court orders.

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