Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today brought to a close his defamation suit against Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, with the two parties successfully resolving their dispute.
This came with a consent judgment recorded by the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, after Khairy reversed his earlier position and stated he did not call Anwar a traitor and a puppet of the United States and the Jews.
Anwar's lawyer Gobind Singh Deo ( left ) told the court that since the defendant now said he did not utter the offending words, the matter ended there and stood resolved.
Judge Su Geok Yiam then called Anwar and Khairy to verify their settlement, to which both concurred.
Justice Su thanked both parties for what she called the "expeditious resolution" of the case and recorded the consent judgment.
"This will save the court time to work on other cases," she said.
Met after proceedings, Khairy said the matter was settled out of court "and now we can get back to real work".
Asked whether he was now denying saying such things about Anwar, Khairy, who is the MP for Rembau, replied that it was as per the settlement statement.
'Effectively a refraction by Khairy'
Commenting on this development, Anwar said it was effectively a retraction by Khairy, for "we had already adduced evidence in The Star newspaper and also the transcript that the Umno Youth chief's lawyers submitted to us of the Kuala Kangsar event, which proves those things were said".
The PKR de facto leader said that based on Khairy's speech, "which he had given to us, he now agrees with our position".
Anwar added: "The statement says Khairy denies saying what he had said before, on Aug 2, 2007. Based on the facts that Khairy had admitted, it resulted in his decision to retract the statement.
"For me, it is, Alhamdulillah (Praise to Allah), for Khairy to admit he had not said this. Hence. Khairy is now saying that I am not a puppet of the Americans nor the Jews. It means I am also fighting for the rights of the Malays."
Anwar said he would not hesitate to sue Khairy if he uttered defamatory statements again, and noted that he has one more suit pending against the Umno Youth leader.
'I have to act as such, for BN monopolises the media'
Anwar said he was sometimes asked why he was filing law suits against such people.
"My reply to this is that they (BN and Umno) leaders have said many defamatory things against me. This is excessive as they (BN) also monopolise the (mainstream) media and use it to slander me and misinform the public.
"I certainly have to stop that and when they claim I am a puppet (of someone), I have to take action, although it seems to be wasting time," he said.
Previously, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had also accused Anwar of filing libel suits to stifle those who went against him.
In the High Court yesterday, Anwar testified that Khairy defamed him in 2007 because, at that time, the young politician was determined to contest in the 2008 general election.
"The defendant was deputy Umno Youth chief (then) and his father-in-law was Malaysia's prime minister. Khairy did not hold any post and he was determined to contest in the 2008 general election," Anwar had said.
Anwar filed the libel suit after Khairy's speech in Kuala Kangsar on Aug 2, 2007, which was reported by The Star, which said Khairy uttered words to mean that Anwar was a traitor to the Malays and was a foreign agent.
Anwar in his suit said Khairy's statement portrayed him as a politician who could not be trusted by the Malays; who did not give importance to the struggle of the Malays and their rights; and that he was capable of betraying the Malay struggle and rights just to get the support of the non-Malays in the country.
Anwar contended that Khairy made these statements to insinuate that he (Anwar) was a political agent of the United States and the Jews, as well as to ruin his political career, and that Khairy had ill-intention when making the statements, which the Permatang Pauh MP said were lies, baseless and without truth.
In his statement of defence, Khairy said the statements were made on an occasion of qualified privilege, justification and fair comment.
There was no inkling yesterday that this suit could come to an out-of-court settlement today, especially since Khairy's counsel had began to cross-examine Anwar.