PETALING JAYA,Feb 19: Umno Supreme Council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi, who has been issued a letter of demand by the prime minister, today said he is prepared to face any suit filed in court.
In a Facebook post, Puad denied defaming Muhyiddin Yassin, saying he was merely asking for clarification on the three-day observation rule for ministers returning from overseas as it was an issue of public interest.
He said it was his right to freedom of speech, adding that he would not allow himself “to be bullied by Muhyiddin like how Umno was bullied”.
“I do not need to apologise and there is no need to remove my Facebook post.
“So I choose to go to court. This will give me the opportunity to stand with the people who are against the practice of ‘double standards’ in the quarantine issue,” he said.
Puad said he would be handing over the letter of demand to his lawyer to respond.
“To me, it is very clear that this suit is intended to silence and intimidate critics. I will not budge.”
Previously, Muhyiddin had sent the letter of demand seeking a public apology and RM10 million in compensation from Puad for allegedly defaming him through a Facebook post last week.
The letter, issued by Muhyiddin’s law firm, Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership, demanded Puad to remove a Facebook post on Feb 9 under the name “Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi”, and gave him seven days to comply with the demand.
Puad had questioned if the new three-day observation rule for ministers was linked to the prime minister’s return from his official visit to Indonesia.
The rule is contained in a new ministerial order enforced from Feb 9 until Aug 1, requiring ministers to only undergo observation for three days or undergo surveillance until they can be discharged without danger to the public.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) then responded by saying there was no truth to Puad’s remarks, adding that it was malicious.