PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Umno and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak have served three letters of demand on online news portal Malaysiakini, editor-in-chief Steven Gan and chief editor Fathi Aris Omar over two allegedly defamatory articles published on Wednesday.
The letters of demand, served at about 4pm on Wednesday, referred to two articles, A case of the PM reaping what he sows and How much will Najib spend to keep Terengganu?, which allegedly contained defamatory comments.
"Our clients had also instructed that the said defamatory articles could be construed in its natural and ordinary meaning; that our clients are not competent to function as the leaders of Malaysia, have zero integrity and are unethical, are racist, have no moral values, and had abused their powers as a political leader and party," said Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, counsel for Mr Najib and Umno.
Mr Hafarizam, in the letter of demand, added that Malaysiakini, in publishing the reader comments, spread hatred, contempt and ridicule for Mr Najib and Umno and ruined their credibility.
"Based on the said defamatory and seditious articles, it is clear that all the allegations by the users of Malaysiakini.com that you and your team have selected, compiled and published are very serious defamatory allegations which were clearly published with mala fide (bad faith), besides being seditious to our clients," said Mr Hafarizam.
He said his clients were demanding that Malaysiakini publish an unconditional written apology and withdrawal of the articles.
They also wanted a written undertaking that Malaysiakini would not publish any more defamatory statements regarding Mr Najib or Umno within a 48-hour period that ends on Saturday.
Also wanted in writing was a promise to be mindful with all published articles and to compensate Mr Najib and Umno with damages to be agreed on by them.
"We have our client's strict instructions to commence legal proceedings against you if you fail to comply with this notice of demand including any other applications to the court in regards to the above matter," said Mr Hafarizam in the letter.